Friday, February 4, 2011

The Importance of Being Honest

This is a great article by E. Derman and Paul Wilmott on  how we should be careful with our models. Here are their suggestions at the end,

  • I will remember that I didn't make the world and that it doesn't satisfy my equations.
  • Though I will use models boldly to estimate value, I will not be overly impressed by mathematics.
  • I will never sacrifice reality for elegance without explaining why I have done so. Nor will I give the people who use my model false comfort about its accuracy. Instead, I will make explicit its assumptions and oversights.
  • I understand that my work may have enormous effects on society and the economy, many of them beyond my comprehension. 

It is so easy to get lost in the mathematics of models that we often see papers completely out of touch with reality...

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