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Academy News

Open Source and Open Education (OEWeek online chat event)

by Ad Min -

Open Education Week Banner

Open source software is very effective in democratizing digital capabilities across a vast range of domains. As prime example, Moodle is an open source eLearning platform that powers hundreds of thousands of learning environments globally (it provides also the basic infrastructure for the Open Risk Academy). Yet contributing to open source faces the formidable barrier of scarce technical (digital) literacy. How can we best use open source to teach about open source? Can we set in motion a virtuous cycle that will produce a reinforcing mechanism where people use open source tools to build more open source education tools? This is the topic of a free format online chat event. 

The event should be interesting for anybody thinking or working at the intersection of open source and open education irrespective of which domain they specialize in. We'll try to make a number of different channels available:

The scheduled time is 5:00pm-6:00pm (Europe/Amsterdam time) on the 7th of March 2024. Come and join the discussion!

A new short course providing interactive analysis of input-output models

by Ad Min -

A new short introductory course on Input-Output analysis focuses on stylized interactive calculations that can be performed directly within the online reading sections.

The level of the course is introductory. There are no mathematical nor computer science prerequisites. It should be useful for anybody wishing to obtain insights into the flow of the basic calculations behind modern large scale Environmentally Extended Input-Output Models.

The objective of the course is to provide intuition and familiarity with the basic calculation workflow, indicatively:

From the Initial IO System

Calculate the Technical Requirements Matrix:

Calculate the Leontief Inverse Matrix:
Enter a new Demand vector:
To obtain the new IO system:


New Academy Course, an Introduction to Tensor Operations with Eigen

by Ad Min -

An Introduction to Tensor Operations with Eigen is a new course at the Open Risk Academy. It is a DeepDive into using the Eigen C++ Library to perform Tensor calculations.

What is Eigen::Tensor?

Eigen is a C++ template library for linear algebra covering matrices, vectors, numerical solvers, and related algorithms. We focus in this course on a significant extension of Eigen (the Tensor module) that extends Eigen's functionality in handling higher-dimensional numerical objects (tensors of three and higher dimensions).

Motivation for the Course

Eigen (and in particular its Tensor module) is a building block used by major open source computational libraries and frameworks such a Tensorflow and Stan. Such libraries frequently require tensor type containers (higher-dimensional than vectors and matrices). Familiarity with the Eigen::Tensor API enables developers with similar requirements to write concise, high-level C++ code that is performant on a variety of devices.

Course Objectives

The objective of the course is to provide an introduction to using Eigen::Tensor as a high-level library for using Tensors in C++ projects.

  • We learn the concept and techniques of the Eigen Tensor class
  • How to declare, initialize Tensors of various ranks and types and how to access Tensor elements
  • Elementary unary and binary operations involving Tensors
  • More complex operations (reductions, contractions)
  • Modifying the shape of Tensors

The course is now live at the Academy, the github repository hosts C++ scripts used in the course.


Basic knowledge and a working setup for C++ development (e.g., being able to add Eigen as a header only library) is required.

Mathematical notation is used liberally throughout the course to clarify (for those familiar with it) the tensor manipulation concepts but is not strictly required for benefiting from the course.

Summary of Contents

The course comprises 14 Steps covering the following topics

  • Step 1. Getting started with Eigen
  • Step 2. Tensor Class Declarations
  • Step 3. Tensor Class Initializations
  • Step 4. Working with Tensor Elements, I
  • Step 5. Working with Tensor Elements, II
  • Step 6. Random Number Initialization
  • Step 7. Unary Element-Wise Operations
  • Step 8. Binary Element-Wise Operations
  • Step 9. In-Memory Representations of Tensors
  • Step 10. Tensor Contraction Operations
  • Step 11. Tensor Reduction Operations
  • Step 12. Tensor Shape Modifying Operations
  • Step 13. Tensor Scanning Operations
  • Step 14. Review and Outlook

Course Exercises

The exercises concern writing C++ small snippets of code that accomplish a certain task. The form of each exercise is as a Catch2 test. Indicative solutions are provided in this repository.


Attachment tensorflow-example.jpg

Crash course introduction to Input-Output model mathematics

by Ad Min -

A new crash course is available now in the Academy.

The course should be useful for people who want to refresh their linear algebra and matrix theory knowledge or want identify specific areas which they wish to study deeper. It offers a brief introduction to Input-Output Model mathematics, the basic elements of linear algebra and matrix theory that are necessary to understand the standard Input-Output models, including their environmental impact extensions. Matrix theory is the main subject covered here, as it is the dominant mathematical tool used in IO analysis. The focus is on notation and defining the mathematical objects and operations commonly used, not the economic interpretation or any mathematical proofs.

This resource can be seen as a slightly more mathematical version compared to Appendix A: Matrix Algebra for Input-Output Models as presented in the definitive textbook on IO models, namely Input-Output Analysis Foundations and Extensions by Miller and Blair. We follow roughly the naming, notation and conventions of the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Mathematics.

A summary of the main topics covered:

  • Basics, Matrix Definition, Matrix Families
  • Various Matrix Operations
  • Matrix-Matrix Products (Cayley, Hadamard, Kronecker etc.)
  • Matrix Inversion and Matrix Series
  • Select IO Specific Topics

You can enroll directly here. Enjoy and keep us posted with any observations, ideas or feedback on how to improve this resource.

Towards a Faceted Taxonomy of Financial Services

by Ad Min -

In a new blog post we discuss the structure and role of taxonomies in financial services. Our age is increasingly dominated by the dual challenges and opportunities of the sustainability transition on the one hand, and digital transformation on the other. We witness emerging new financial domains with novel names such as Fintech , or TechFin, or various combinations and hues of Green and Sustainable in Sustainable Finance and we see forces that are reshaping the direction of travel for the financial industry.

Understanding where and how the broader Financial System will be affected by these developments is of no small interest. Stakeholders are effectively all users of Financial Products , which means practically every economically active actor! A good example of renewed focus on “taxonomic” thinking is the EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy an EU-wide classification system that aims to determine whether an economic activity is environmentally sustainable. Current Financial Service providers, are also keenly interested, since such systemic developments can drastically reshape business models. Last but not least, financial regulators and policymakers have the heavy burden of ensuring that these emerging financial system adaptations are fit-for-purpose. In a fully digitized economic system old fences and firewalls may no longer be relevant.

The motivation for thinking about classifications and taxonomies comes from the fact that analysing changing systems requires, at the outset, insightful, objective descriptions of their past and present states. A financial system oriented taxonomy would be a categorization or classification of concepts associated with the broader economic phenomenon we call Financial Services. A taxonomy or classification is typically a hierarchical structure in which concepts (classes, or categories) are organized into groups or types of increasing specificity.

In the post we discuss a large number of related taxonomy examples and distill some of the essential features required. This reading should be interesting to anybody interested in more holistic view of the financial system and its risks, or for those aim to understand the new forms of "unbundling" financial service provision.

A diagram of unbundled credit provision. The internal structure of a credit granting entity is illustrated using nodes.

Awesome Sustainable Finance List

by Ad Min -

We are building an awesome sustainable finance list that aims to identify and highlight all open source and open data projects that make an impact on sustainable finance, understood in the broadest way. Are you aware of any project that targets this space, you are very welcome to contibute. 

Particularly welcome any pointers to projects that focus on the "S" of ESG: the social dimension of finance. If you have a github account you can directly contribute here.

List of current topics (topic suggestions also welcome!)

Thank you!

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