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School of Physics and Astronomy

Queen Mary astronomer makes the connection to Data Science

The QMUL School of Physics and Astronomy is a member of the Data Intensive Science Centre in the South East Physics Network (DISCnet). DISCnet is an STFC funded Centre for Doctoral Training, aimed at training a new generation scientists in data science. Paula Soares, a cosmology PhD student in the Astronomy Unit being supervised by Dr Alkistis Pourtsidou, is part of DISCnet and undertook a 3-month long data science internship in the summer of 2019.

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Paula worked as a data science intern at Gresham Investment Management, in an alternative commodities hedge fund team based in London. The main goals of these internships are for the student to learn as much as possible about a new industry, while applying and refining valuable data science skills. 

When asked to explain what her project was about, Paula said "I worked with the trend following model being currently implemented by the team and applied it to real data of different alternative commodities markets. This way, we were able to see how well the model would perform with different markets we might be interested in investing in. This is important exploratory work, and involved me handling and analysing all relevant data relating to these markets using mainly Python. I would say that my Big Data skills were very useful for the internship, and also that I was able to improve them greatly and make use of this improvement in my PhD when I returned. Not only that, but I was able to learn about different field first hand, and that was extremely interesting and gave me several transferrable skills for the future."

As a result of Paula's internship, the Astronomy Unit has formed more connections to the data science in finance industry, and even had her previous supervisor at Gresham, Dr. Thomas Babbedge, come and give a talk at the GRADnet AI meeting at QMUL and meet the group. We look forward to all our DISCnet students having enriching internship experiences, and to continue growing our ties with industry.