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Man AHL and the University of Oxford launch centre for machine learning

11 May 2016

The University of Oxford and Man AHL today announce that the Oxford-Man Institute (OMI), a world-leading academic institute for research into quantitative finance, will expand its focus on machine learning and data analytics, becoming part of the University’s Department of Engineering Science from 1 August 2016.

The development of the OMI’s focus will create a hub for machine learning and data analysis at Eagle House, the current home of the OMI and Man AHL’s Oxford research lab. The OMI’s researchers will be joined by the Department of Engineering Science’s Machine Learning Group, a body of around 20 leading machine learning researchers who will relocate to Eagle House. The aim is to foster a stimulating environment composed of researchers focused on machine learning techniques, whereby machine learning and data analytics expertise can be shared and leveraged.

In addition, the intention is for the OMI to appoint two new Senior Research Fellows/Associate Professors in machine learning with a specific focus on quantitative finance. It is expected that these roles will be supported by PhD studentships and postdoctoral research assistants.

The University of Oxford and Man Group established the OMI in 2007 as a world-leading interdisciplinary academic institute for research into quantitative finance. The OMI will continue to conduct its outstanding research programme, now with the benefit of additional machine learning focus and expertise, both in techniques that are directly applicable to finance and those transferrable from other fields of study.

Dr Anthony Ledford, Man AHL’s Chief Scientist and Academic Liaison, said:

“Man AHL has been actively researching machine learning techniques and applying them in client trading programmes for several years. Our partnership with the OMI directly connects us with cutting-edge quantitative finance research and the opportunity to collaborate with world-leading academics in the field. This evolution of the OMI will strengthen the OMI’s concentration on machine learning and data analytics, through becoming part of the Department of Engineering Science, further facilitating the cross-pollination of ideas and strengthening the OMI’s outstanding research programmes.”

Professor Stephen Roberts, Professor of Machine Learning and Director of the OMI, said:

“We are delighted that the Oxford-Man Institute will become part of the Department of Engineering Science, and look forward to welcoming the Machine Learning Group to Eagle House. Since its inception, the OMI has drawn on leading researchers and academics from across the University of Oxford, and its position within the Department of Engineering Science and the creation of a hub at Eagle House will foster an innovative and mutually beneficial machine learning research environment. The OMI’s natural expansion into machine learning and data analytics underlies its continual strengthening in crucial areas of modern financial research.”

Sandy Rattray, CEO of Man AHL, added:

“At Man AHL, we have been investing in machine learning research for many years as we see great potential to actively enhance our business and deliver value to clients. We believe that the enhanced focus of the OMI on machine learning and data analytics will be strongly supportive to the ongoing evolution of quantitative investment strategies. In particular, the growth of new techniques as well as new forms of data clearly provide an enormous opportunity set in coming years.”

Professor Lionel Tarassenko, Head of the Department of Engineering Science, added:

“The Department of Engineering Science has built up a world-class reputation in machine learning over the last decade, in fields as diverse as biomedicine, robotics and quantitative finance. Partnering closely with the Oxford-Man Institute will enable us to create an environment that further benefits our growing research portfolio in the field of machine learning. We are looking forward to working in close collaboration with the Oxford-Man Institute as we make further breakthroughs in this exciting field.”

The OMI will transition to the Department of Engineering Science, which is part of the University of Oxford’s Mathematical, Physical and Life Science Division, from its current position as part of the Social Sciences Division.

The University of Oxford and Man Group have worked in partnership since 2007 when Man Group provided the cornerstone funding for the OMI, co-located with the firm’s own commercial research laboratory and research staff. Man Group will continue to be the core commercial provider of funding for the Institute, and the OMI will also benefit from significant research council funding secured by the Department of Engineering Science’s Machine Learning Groups.


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