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Supercomputing Challenge

Social Model for Predicting Economic Trends

Team: 50


Area of Science: Behavioral and Social Sciences / Mathematics



Financial analysts have been working for years to model exchanges between foreign currencies. Many have created complex mathematical algorithms to simulate world currency trade based on historical data and general trends. However, traditional models do not account for many social and political variables, such as the emergence of compassionate consumerism or the natural gas conflicts in Russia. These social variables are absolutely critical to understanding of the economy. However, they are entirely unnoticed or not given enough consideration by many economists.


We hope to extend existing models of currency exchange rates and add new ideas about economic trends, so that we can account for variations in exchange rates which have occurred over the course of the last decade. To do this, we are creating an engine to track economic trends and relationships. Our current programming strategy is to incorporate the entire engine with REALbasic and create modules in Python to perform primitive functions and specialized tasks. We are extensively investigating the TK and GD graphics libraries for our graphs and charts, but we have decided not to do OpenGL graphs unless we have too.

Progress to Date:

Our team has found a mentor – Neale Pickett of LANL – and we have been holding weekly meetings in cooperation with our mentor. We have begun work on the tracking engine, which will collect and display historical data on currency exchange rates over the past decade alongside current daily data from the Federal Reserve Bank. It may also track common commodities such as petroleum and grain. We hope to have an alpha version of our program within the next two months.

Expected Results:

When our project is finished, we plan to have a stable and versatile engine to work with. We will use this engine to analyze political changes in countries (revolutions, wars, diplomacy, etc.) and social interactions between them (immigration, trade, population growth, etc.). Using this radically different viewpoint, we strive to find trends that have gone unnoticed by many economists.

Works Cited:

“Econometrics.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia 27 Nov 2006. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 4 Dec 2006 <>.

“Europe Brent Spot Price FOB.” 29 Nov. 2006 Energy Information Administration. 3 Dec 2006.

“Foreign Exchange XML Data.” Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Ed. George Matthes. 10 Oct 2006. <>.

Salganik, Matthew, Dodds, Peter, and Watts, Duncan. “Experimental Study of Inequality and Unpredictability in an Artificial Cultural Market.” Science 10 Feb 2006: 854-856.

Samuelson, Paul A. and Nordhausm William D. Economics. 16th ed. McGraw-Hill, 1998.

Mentor: Neale Pickett

Team Members:

  Daniel Cox
  Ben Batha
  Ryan Marcus
  William Phillips

Sponsoring Teacher: Diane Medford

Mail the entire Team