A small informal effort like Pink Iguana needs to lean heavily on curation for a specific audience. How narrow is the audience? Take the entire massive EcoFin community of DeLong, Wilmott, and Mankiw then subtract most of the folks who: don’t care if a 22nm semiconductor fab is competitive in 2012, haven’t compiled their code –O3 recently, or are sort of meh to the idea that there is a RDMA transport to L3. Those folks remaining might be the Pink Iguana audience if they also like: buying credit protection from AIG stories, P=NP speculation, and IEEE754. It’s the far side of the long tail.
So why curate for such a specific audience? Despite The End of Blogging, in 2012 there are remarkable and reasonably frequent publication streams from Gowers, Lipton, and Tao. The thing that is different in the last five years is the public availability of unfiltered, authoritative, and lucid commentary on specific topics. The keys are unfiltered, authoritative, and lucid. DeLong, Mankiw, Cowen, and Krugman run similarly authoritative and lucid publication streams that are more informed by their partisan backgrounds than Gowers, Lipton, and Tao. Intel, NVIDIA, and IBM have authoritative and lucid information as well, but they also have a day job to do. If folks like Gowers, Lipton, and Tao are regularly publishing there might be more, right? You just have to go look around, and maybe you figure out how something (e.g., ETP Arbitrage, Credit Derivatives, HFT, a specific floating point computation) actually works. So, Wisty curates on Pink Iguana.
Why are these folks in the Pink Iguana Hall of Heroes (listed below the Blogroll) and why should you read the Heroes?
A Credit Trader hasn’t published since 2009, he went to do other stuff, but wow what got published there was magnificent. Read Getchen Morgenson at NYT, for example this, then read The AIG Fiasco or Bond-CDS Negative Basis or How to Lose a Billion Dollars on a Trade, it is like a teenage lucidity head rush.
Avellaneda – 2010 Quant of the Year posts regularly from his NYU faculty page and covers Research and market commentary, Stochastic Calculus, PDEs for Finance, Risk and Portfolio Management.
Bookstaber – Author of the book A Demon of Our Own Design, ran Firm Risk at Salomon back in the day, and now is Senior Policy Advisor at the SEC. See Physics Envy in Finance or Human Complexity: The Strategic game of ? and ?
DeLong – Even with the constant bitching about the press and Team Republican plus the liveblogging of World War 2, I have never seen a better EcoFin website, see DeLong and Summers: Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy or Econ 191: Spring 2012. DeLong’s blog really is the model for curation and commentary to a large audience.
Gowers – Rouse Ball chair, Cambridge U, Fields Medal 1998, see ICM 2010 or Finding Cantor’s proof that there are transcendental numbers, and he was piqued to comment Re: Steig Larsson, or perhaps the translator Reg Keeling in Wiles meets his match. So, Salander’s picture perfect memory, capacity to defeat armed motorcycle gangs in hand-to-hand combat, and assorted other superpowers pass without comment but she thinks she has a proof of Fermat, you gotta call a mathematician to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Gowers is on the Heroes list forever, check.
Kahan – doesn’t publish so much anymore but he is the Edgar Allen Poe of floating point computations gone wrong horror stories, and they are all here. He did IEEE 754 floating point standard and won a Turing Award. When and if he has something to say, I will probably want to listen, see How Java’s Floating-Point Hurts Everyone Everywhere and Desperately Needed Remedies for the Undebuggability of Large Floating-Point Computations in Science and Engineering.
Lipton has a gloriously unique perspective presented in Godel’s Lost Letter. He provides the descriptive narrative for algorithm complexity in a public conversation typically dominated by proofs and expositions of computational models. If algorithm complexity was professional sports, its kind of like Lipton figured out there should be color commentators broadcasting live from the game. Top posts include: Interdisciplinary Research – Challenges, The Letterman Top Ten list of why P = NP is impossible, and The Singularity Is Here In Chess; its John Madden, Dick Vitale, and Andres Cantor meet Kurt Godel, John von Neumann, and Andrey Kolmogorov in the best possible way.
Tufte is “the guy” for the visual display of quantitative information. He has been the guy at least since the early 1980s and does not really publish the same way as Gowers, Lipton, or Tao. Tufte kind of figured out his publication flow before the internet, so you buy his books and if you want to know what he is thinking about now, you go to his course. He has stuff on line, lots of it, for example see his notebooks, or about ET. The Tufte course attendance is sort of mandatory, not sure but I think that’s in Dodd-Frank Title VII, so just do it before they find out.