From the Director

Morton Lane

January 11, 2018

As ever, the New Year brings with it Change and Opportunity for the MSFE Program at Illinois.
Last month we successfully graduated the Class of 2017, all well equipped for their new life’s adventures; this month brings the Class of 2018 to their final year at Illinois.
Among the opportunities available to them are courses on Deep Learning, Practicums on Crypto-currencies and the application of Machine Learning, together with a new “Lab” dedicated to Machine Learning (ML).
Through a generous donation The MSFE ML Lab is equipped with a General Purpose Graphic Processing Unit (GPGPU) capability. This should allow training and testing of, for example, neural net models to be done much faster by being “utilizing massive parallelization”. This is increasingly important given the really large data sets students now regularly encounter in both the class room and in the Practicums.
One other sign of the changes in the MSFE program involves the use of video instruction. First, students traveling to Chicago for Practicums and Electives will be able to remotely attend some required courses in Champaign through improved video links. (Their Professors will also alternate their physical presence.) Second, increasingly we see instructors putting content on YouTube to augment their lectures.
We recognize this is an increasing trend throughout education. We are glad to have a faculty that embraces and experiments with those ideas and trends.
All Financial Engineers will want to graduate with the latest tools. Ours seeks to do that. But, and this just as important, we seek to develop graduates who are not afraid to embrace the changes that they, and we, have yet to see. Such engineers are “Quick Learners and Early (but Discriminating) Adopters”.
Happy New Year students, it will go fast.


Morton N. Lane, Ph.D.
MS Financial Engineering, Director
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign