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Q-Kolleg with Humboldt-Universität and the National University of Singapore

In the summer semester 2016 the Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz Chair of Statistics organized a Q-Kolleg with the National University of Singapore(NUS), a leading research university in Asia

Figure: Q-Kolleg with students from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and National University of Singapore, Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz Chair of Statistics

Master’s students of the School of Business and Economics at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) worked with PhD students in Statistics from NUS on three projects related to digital economy

In May, NUS students were invited to Berlin to work on their joint projects. After an intensive phase of discussions and research, some preliminary results could be presented before the NUS students left Berlin in the beginning of June. Since then the students continued to work on their project through virtual communication channels. On August 22, a students’ conference was set up in Singapore for the students to present their final results and get feedback from a broader audience.

In the first half of the semester, numerous national and international guest speakers were invited to Humboldt-Universität to present their current research. The sessions were broadcasted to Singapore so that NUS students could follow the talks and interact with the speakers. One session, on the other hand, was held in Singapore and broadcasted to Berlin. Through this concept, students got an insight into some hot topics in digital economy and used these inputs to work out their own research questions. The second half of the semester was reserved for students to devote themselves to their own project.

Projects on cryptocurrency, privacy and anonymity

One team works on creating a family of smart cryptocurrency indices. CRIX, an index that tracks the performance of the cryptocurrency market is weighted by market capitalization. In their joint project, Wee Song Chua and Lam Tuyen Nguyen use alternative weighting methods, i.e. risk-weighted, minimum-volatility weighted, value at risk, expected shortfall and Sharpe ratio to give a risk-based view on the cryptocurrency market and to compare the performance against CRIX.

Another project by Jiejie Zhang and Lara Vomfell deal with the emergence of blockchains and the different notions of privacy and anonymity. As blockchains become more and more “hyped”, its most famous implementation in Bitcoin deserves a closer look. A simulation study aims to reveal that a simple exploitation of regular patterns suffices to connect and identify accounts.

Q-Kolleg for students from diverse backgrounds

Janice Paschek and Xiaofei Xu work together on the topic of face recognition. The aim of the research is to identify appropriate classification methods like the FLDA, k-Nearest Neighbor or SVMs for different groups of facial datasets. Therefore they use for example black and white or colorful pictures in small and large datasets. Another interesting part is to identify if some methods are better in identifying siblings or parent-child relations than others.

This Q-Kolleg provided a platform for students from diverse backgrounds, Master’s and PhD students in Business, Economics, Information Systems and Statistics to do interdisciplinary research. This is an added advantage because the students can benefit from the knowledge of their partners and they complement each other in ways that would not be possible if all students had the same background.

The Initiators, professor Wolfgang K. Härdle, guest professor Cathy Y. Chen, professor Ying Chen, Simon Trimborn and Elisabeth Bommes offered assistance whenever needed and made the learning by researching format a more fruitful and motivational experience. Even though doing research is more time-consuming than taking a class, all students agreed that working and researching on topics of their own interest is more exciting and the learning outcomes are tremendous. All participants benefitted from the international environment and the cross-cultural expertise. They are looking forward to presenting their research results at a students’ conference in August in Singapore.

Further information

Website Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz Chair of Statistics



Wolfgang Karl Härdle

Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz Chair of Statistics
School of Business and Economics
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Phone: +49 30 2093 5703