2010 Institute for Computational Economics (ICE)

July 19-30, 2010

Nearly 50 doctoral students in economics gained intensive, hands-on experience with the latest tools and methods for analyzing complex data and policy questions at the Institute on Computational Economics (ICE) in July.

Cosponsored by the Institute, ICE aims to raise the level of computational sophistication in economics. The intensive two-week session gives young economists unique access to state-of-the-art numerical methods and computer technology they can use to address problems posed by modern economic models and their econometric estimation.

“Training researchers in these more powerful techniques increases the range of models and questions they can look at,” said Kenneth Judd, a founding organizer of ICE who presents much of the course content each year. “We are providing tools and models that can be used for counterfactual policy analysis, so they can answer questions like, ‘What if we changed taxes this way?’”

“We want the future economists to have more skill in this area, so we’re providing it. No one else is training these students in these methods,” Judd noted.

A key benefit of the course is hands-on experience with advanced computational tools and software. Participants form groups, define a problem, and analyze it using new methods they’ve learned, and present the results. “I always say only way to learn computation is to compute. You have to get hands dirty,” said Judd, the Paul H. Bauer Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. “The project is always something students could not have done prior to coming to ICE, and they appreciated the feedback and comments they get throughout the project.”

Now in its sixth year, ICE drew about 150 applications for the 30 places open to students who live outside of Chicago. A total of 45 Ph.D. students participated; about 10 more researchers audited the two-week session. Lecturers drawn from the fields of applied mathematics, computer science, operations research, and other fields to demonstrate software and the application of new techniques to economic problems.

Additional funding for ICE 2010 has been provided through the generous support of the University of Chicago, the Computation Institute, and the Stevanovich Center for Financial Mathematics. Administrative support is provided by the Economics Research Center. For more information about ICE, please visit http://ice.uchicago.edu.