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Professor John Stachurski. Photo: CBE

Professor John Stachurski. Photo: CBE

Model efficiency is a model for impact

29 March 2019

Professor John Stachurski, from the Research School of Economics, has applied his research to improve the efficiency of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (New York Fed) with profound and tangible outcomes.

Professor Stachurski is an internationally recognised economist and has spent his career contributing to quantitative economic modelling. He is a co-founder of QuantEcon, a nonprofit organisation that is dedicated to improving economic modelling by enhancing computational tools for economists.

Faster code

Professor Stachurski teamed up with the New York Fed to update their dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model. Much of his research has informed his project with the New York Fed, which involved translating the existing model into ‘Julia’, a recently made scientific programming language with a focus on high-speed numerical analysis.

Professor Stachurski’s work with the New York Fed’s DSGE model was a large undertaking but, by the time the team had finished the initial translation, they had cut the code almost in half, from 6,300 lines to just 3,700. They had also reduced the time it takes to run some sections by up to 90% and improved the overall efficiency of the model by a factor of four.

The team made their work on the DSGE model open source, meaning it is freely available for anyone to use. It is hosted on GitHub, a coding repository, so that others can continue to develop and apply the model. As a testament to its popularity and ongoing utility, it has had over 2,500 commits (unique updates) and, for a time, was the most popular Julia library on the website.

Wide engagement

The availability and success of this work has garnered the interest of other banks, such as the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Professor Stachurski and his team have held workshops for employees of these banks, with the hopes of helping to adapt their DSGE models in the future.

QuantEcon also hosts lectures online, written by Professor Stachurski and Professor Thomas J. Sargent, who won the 2011 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Their website receives over 25,000 visitors a month and covers topics such as coding skills, algorithms and numerical methods for studying economics, and related mathematical and statistical concepts.

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Updated:   29 March 2019 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team