Welcome to the Go-Fast
The things big and small that describe the world
I’m Cameron Pfiffer. I’m a statistician, engineer, and economist. I received my PhD in finance from the University of Oregon, and I am currently a postdoctoral researcher in economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
I am starting a newsletter to explore one of my favorite features of the modern world — models. Models are everywhere nowadays. They describe how to sell ads, how to set interest rates, what your insurance premiums are, or who you might meet on a dating app. Models can be small and fast, or massive, slow rolling behemoths that require weeks or months of computation. They’re everywhere these days.
I like learning about these models. Since I was a kid I’ve always enjoyed learning about big, complicated, or hidden things. As a younger person I was fascinated with the infrastructure that went into producing Cirque du Soleil shows or Broadway musicals. Now, it’s about how researchers and businesses try to understand the world with statistics, data, and models.
My work in economics has given me access to a unique an interesting perspective on economics, data, and statistics. In particular, I work a lot with big economic models that require lots of computational power. The rise of readily-available computation has made it easy to estimate things we didn’t think possible two decades ago. Economics is a beneficiary of this computational resource, though perhaps not as much as machine learning/statistics writ large.
In this SubStack, I’m going to maybe muse on these models, how they work, who wrote them, and what they might mean for us. Maybe I’ll even do some interviews! Seems like a fun way to get to know people.
I’ll publish in here sporadically until I figure out exactly what I’m doing. Though, figuring out exactly what I’m doing seems like a stretch.
Hope you’ll follow along!
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