The Financial Laboratory, located in the Economics Building in Xiamen University, is undoubtedly one of the best innovations of Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics (WISE). Featuring the most modern technology, the Lab was created to lead the way in break-through innovations and quality research, and contribute to the integration of theory and practice by delivering hands-on experience to users.
Built as a partnership between academia and industry, the Financial Laboratory supports and promotes quantitative research and learning in a range of financial disciplines, including investment strategy and portfolio management, financial engineering and risk management, and trading and market analysis. WISE expects to develop curriculums for both graduate and undergraduate students that take advantage of the Lab's state-of-the-art facilities and software. Beginning in the 2012 Spring Semester, the Lab may offer courses covering risk management, financial engineering, investment strategy, and portfolio management, all of which complement the rigorous finance and economics programs offered by WISE. The Lab will also host conferences and seminars on topics such as volatility estimation and risk management.
The Lab's design is an impressive mix of efficiency, computing power and elegance. The Laboratory resembles a three-tier circular conference room covering an area of 180 square meters. Situated in the front of the room are a front desk and podium, behind which lie a 3x3 matrix of independent screens and a large projection screen. Two separate LED displays—one located above the center of the room and the second along the edge of the room—show real-time financial information, adding to the diversity of information that can be displayed at any one time in the room. The wooden tables that curve around the room conceal personal computers with retractable wide-screen monitors, providing computer access and ample desk space for 64 individuals. Each computer has full access to software including MATLAB, Microsoft Office, SAS, EViews, R and Stata. Users can access and analyze over fifty financial databases purchased from GTA, among which include CSMAR, TAQ and other databases purchased by the Xiamen University library. Furthermore, users can explore the virtual exchange platform featuring real-time stock quotes, and synchronize with international universities via a video conference system.
The Financial Laboratory was officially approved by Xiamen University's Econometric Ministry of Education Key Laboratory in late 2009. The first stage of construction, with a budget of 5 million RMB, was successfully completed by the end of December 2011. Already highly acclaimed, the Financial Laboratory will provide valuable research and teaching resources to the fields of finance, economics, statistics and science. The Lab is also expected to serve the university and community through a series of top-quality courses, seminars, conferences, and ongoing database development. Plans for the Lab's second stage of construction will be developed over the next two years.