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Thalesians Seminar (London) — Blanka Horvath — Deep Learning Volatility

Blanka Horvath

Blanka Horvath

Date and Time

Wednesday, April 24, 2019, at 4:30 p.m.


King's College, Strand, UK

You can register for this event and pay online on


We present a powerful neural network based calibration method for a number of volatility models including the rough volatility family. The aim of neural networks in this work is an off-line approximation of complex pricing functions, which are difficult to represent or time-consuming to evaluate by other means. We highlight how this perspective opens new horizons for quantitative modelling: The calibration bottleneck posed by a slow pricing of derivative contracts is lifted. This brings several model families (such as rough volatility models) within the scope of applicability in industry practice. As customary for machine learning, the form in which information from available data is extracted and stored is crucial for network performance. With this in mind we discuss how our approach addresses the usual challenges of machine learning solutions in a financial context (availability of training data, interpretability of results for regulators, control over generalisation errors). We present specific architectures for price approximation and calibration and optimize these with respect different objectives regarding accuracy, speed and robustness. We also find that including the intermediate step of learning pricing functions of (classical or rough) volatility models before calibration significantly improves the generalisation performance compared to the performance of deep calibration networks that are trained directly on data.


Blanka Horvath is a Lecturer at King's College London in the Financial Mathematics group, and an Honorary Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at Imperial College London.

Blanka holds a PhD in Financial Mathematics from ETH Zurich, a postgraduate degree (Diplom) in Mathematics from the University of Bonn, and an MSc in Economics from The University of Hong Kong. In her research she lays a particular emphasis on the applicability of her research and maintains close collaborations with the industry, including: JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Zeliade Systems and AXA.

Her research interests are in the area of Stochastic Analysis and Mathematical Finance. They include (but not limited to):

  • Numerical methods as well as machine learning techniques for option pricing, forecasting and simulation.
  • Laplace methods on Wiener space and heat kernel expansions.
  • Smile asymptotics for local- and stochastic volatility models with a particular emphasis on rough volatility models and also SABR-type models.
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