US Independent Study Focuses on Advanced Economics Research

Bubble, Bubble (this news article was contributed by Kurt Schleunes, Math Faculty)

Remember the tech stock bubble of the late 90's? Or how about the real estate bubble that popped in 2006? How do these bubbles occur? Is Bitcoin the next one? That is the question that six Grade 12 students in the Advanced Economics Research independent study course at King are trying to answer. Under the guidance of their instructor, Kurt Schleunes, and with the aid of a mentor, Professor George Waters of Illinois State University, Seniors (L to R above) Matt Roer, Jason Liu, AJ Degrado, Annika Ozizmir, Max Helman, and Daniel Gilbert (and Math Faculty Kurt Schleunes) are using a combination of mathematics, economics, evolutionary game theory, and computer software to analyze how market bubbles are formed.

Professor Waters is a research economist who uses evolutionary game theory and the sophisticated mathematical software MatLab to simulate investors' behavior over time (see graph below). "We analyze how investors choose and switch between different forecasting strategies," remarks Dr. Waters. The students in the research course are using MatLab as well and will be running their own simulations to search for bubble conditions. The students are able to add new strategies and parameters that reflect their own interests in economics.

This type of high school science research program is modeled after a handful of such specialized courses around the country. Students work intensively with a mentor who is a professional research scientist or professor and write a critical review paper and a research paper, both in scientific journal format. They then present the results of their research to the members of the Math and Science Departments and others in the King community. Ultimately, students should be able to enter top high school science research contests like the Regeneron Science Talent Search and even have their work published.

"It's really a great way for high school students to get a chance to do real research in an area that they are passionate about and with someone who is an expert in the field," comments Schleunes. "With all the talk about a global economy and bubbles in the stock market, it sure is fun to see students from King working over the Internet with a professor in Illinois to try to understand economic issues that impact all of us. Another great benefit is that students who participate in this type of a program are much more likely to go on to have careers in scientific research or medicine. Next year, we plan to expand the program to the physical sciences so that students can work in a laboratory setting with research scientists right here in New York and Connecticut. The working title for the course for next year is Advanced Math/Science Research, or AMSR."

AMSR, along with new courses in Linear Algebra/Differential Equations and Engineering Design and Development, is just another example of King's commitment to providing an outstanding math and science education. Students and teachers alike are incredibly excited about what the future holds for them here at King.