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“Smooth shapes are very rare in the wild but extremely important in the ivory tower and the factory...-- Benoit B. Mandelbrot”

Dimitrios Koutmos

Upon completion of my undergraduate studies I worked in the health insurance industry in the United States. I was fortunate to later study and teach in the United Kingdom at leading research institutions; my PhD was awarded by Durham University and I taught at the University of Leeds.

A recurring theme in my research is the identification and plausible quantification of forces that drive fluctuations in asset prices. One of the nodes in this research is deciphering whether a tradeoff between risk and return manifests in the movement of asset prices.

The vicissitude of ups and downs in the market correspond with, among other factors, the ‘successes’ and follies of humans – behavior that is subjectively measurable and which does not lend itself to neat and parsimonious models. With the passage of time however they appear to grow more violent and the forces that govern them more obscure. Regulators respond with new legislation. Is it possible though that we are looking at the same old wine through the glass of new bottles? When the weather changes, it is indisputable that physical laws of science have not. When the economy experiences gyrations, have its rules or the nature of humans changed? These are some questions that parallel my research and make for great class discussions with students.

WPI students are a pleasure to work with. They are independent thinkers whose work has been recognized nationally by organizations such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

In our classes we discuss the (mis-)application of empirical methods in asset pricing, risk management and financial economics at large as well as the various approaches to conducting research. It is important to appreciate that mathematics as a science in its own right provides an abundance of tools for the harvesting of a posteriori knowledge via the examination of historical data at various time dimensions. It is necessary however in our quest to understand financial markets that such an approach be used in harmony with a priori methods grounded in logic.


  • B.S., Fairfield University, 2005
  • M.S., Fairfield University, 2007
  • Ph.D., Durham University, 2012

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