Big data in finance

llsms2138  2020-2021  Louvain-la-Neuve

Big data in finance
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information below is subject to change, in particular that concerning the teaching mode (presential, distance or in a comodal or hybrid format).
5 credits
30.0 h
  • This course is reserved for students with a bachelor’s degree in business engineering (“ingénieur de gestion”), who have the proper background in probability, statistics, econometrics and finance.
    Students with equivalent quantitative method skills who wish to enroll in this course should refer to the following courses as the assumed prerequisites:
  • LINGE1113 Probabilités
  • LINGE1114 Mathématiques: analyse
  • LINGE1121 Mathématiques: algèbre et calcul matriciel
  • LINGE1214 Statistiques approfondies
  • LINGE1222 Analyse statistique multivariée (very relevant)
  • LINGE1221 Econométrie
  • LINGE1315 Finance
LLSMS2013 Investments (very relevant)
Main themes
The course will cover important developments in the fields of statistical learning, machine learning and big data. These interrelated fields provide statistical models to learn structure from high-dimensional data and make accurate predictions.
The course is divided in four sections:
  1. Robust linear regression
  2. Principal and independent component analysis
  3. Bayesian estimation
  4. Ensemble learning
For each section, we will see state-of-the-art applications in portfolio selection (investment strategies), based on recent scientific papers. The students will see why portfolio theory, covered in the Q1 course LLSMS2013 “Investments”, leads to disappointing investment performance in practice when it is naively applied, and how the methods seen in the course help to make portfolio theory work in practice.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :


By the end of the course, the student will have mainly developed the following elements of the « référenciel de compétence » of the Louvain School of Management.

From the lectures:

2. Maîtriser des savoirs,

3. Appliquer une démarche scientifique.

From the group assignment :

6. Travailler en équipe et en exercer le leadership,

7. Gérer un projet,

8. Communiquer.


The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
This course covers theoretical and practical concepts related to:
  1. Robust linear regression:
Reminder on linear regression, bias-variance tradeoff, subset selection and cross-validation, shrinkage methods, the case of big data, refresher on portfolio theory, two portfolio-selection papers as application
  1. Principal and independent component analysis:
PCA, choosing the number of factors, sparse PCA, Stein’s estimator, ICA, FastICA algorithm, three portfolio-selection papers as application
  1. Bayesian estimation:
Bayesian versus maximum-likelihood estimation, conjugate priors, bayesian interpretation of robust linear regression and portfolio selection, one portfolio-selection paper as application
  1. Ensemble learning:
Single estimate versus combination of estimates, bayesian and shrinkage methods, parallel with robust portfolio selection, one portfolio-selection paper as application
Teaching methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

Lectures + group assignment
Evaluation methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

Final exam, assignment
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [120] : Business Engineering

Master [120] : Business Engineering