Joey O'Brien

Data Scientist/Consultant

Acadia (Quaternion Risk Management)

I am a consultant in the Expert Services division of Acadia where I focus on applying techniques from data science and applied mathematics in helping financial groups including tier-one investment banks and hedge funds perform efficient risk calculations and analysis within their portfolios.

My interests include statistics, data science, network science, education, and public-speaking across a number of domains. This tends to result in working within a range of programming languages including R, Python, Julia, and SQL.

I received my PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Limerick with a focus on describing the dynamics of complex systems through a combination of mathematical modelling alongside large-scale data analysis. These systems can range from memes, online threads to even Fantasy sports!


  • July 28th, 2022: Featured in the This Working Life column in the Irish Independent where I spoke about a day in the life of a data focused Quantitative Analyst.
  • May 2nd, 2022: Delighted to have made my TV debut on Brainstorm where I explained how applied mathematics and data science can be applied to ranking competitors in the sport of snooker! (18:01).
  • April 26th, 2022: Interviewed on the radio show Game On from RTE 2FM to discuss the ongoing Snooker World Championship and how mathematics can help us rank the competing players (1:37:44 onwards).
  • February 19th, 2022: My first R package spRingsteen has been published on CRAN, providing a range of datasets describing the career of Bruce Springsteen in a tidy format for data analysis.
  • January 26th, 2022: Gave an invited seminar to the Royal Statistical Society (Northern Ireland branch) on some of our recent work on using data-driven complexity science to understand the popularity of online content.
  • November 22nd, 2021: Delighted to see some of our work on Covid-19 modelling published in a special issue on ‘Data science approaches to infectious disease surveillance’ in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A Link | Preprint.
  • October 22nd, 2021: Just out in Physical Review Research: Our work on Herbert Simon’s classical random-copying model and extensions to incorporate memory effects. Link.
  • May 14th, 2021: New in Physical Review Research - we take a deep dive into the emrgence of leader nodes across a large collection of empirical networks (open access). Link.
  • May 3rd, 2021: I was invited to write a blog for Oxford University Press on our recent work where we applied complex networks theory alongside data science techniques to the problem of ranking within the sport of snooker. Link.
  • March 4th, 2021: Our work on Fantasy Premier League has just been published in PLOS ONE, with some media coverage including New Scientist, The Times (London), The Daily Star, Today FM (radio interview), The Irish Examiner, The Irish Times, Irish Independent, Limerick Leader, Limerick Post, and Offaly Express. Link | arXiv.
  • Ferbruary 4th, 2021: If you’ve ever wondered about webscraping in R or the secrets to success in Fantasy Premier League (or both!) then check out this invited webinar I gave for the WhyR? foundation. Slides | Video
  • December 4th, 2020: Received a prize for best speaker at the 7th SIAM Irish Student Chapter Conference where I presented our work on ranking within complex systems. Slides | Video
  • September 10th, 2020: Our work on FPL has been featured in New Scientist.


  • Complex Systems
  • Networks
  • Data Science
  • Statistics
  • Quantitative Finance


  • PhD in Applied Mathematics, 2017-2021

    University of Limerick

  • BSc. in Financial Mathematics, 2013-2017

    University of Limerick


Recent Posts

Building a tidy data pipeline: Covid19 Northern Ireland

Thoughts on building a framework to automatically collect and update data of the Covid 19 pandemic in Northern Ireland.

A complex networks approach to ranking professional Snooker players

Can complex networks help us to identify the greatest snooker player of all time?

Covid-19 and the Irish Routine

What can we learn about how Covid-19 has changed Irish daily life from publicly available mobility data?

The maths of fantasy football

Can strategic use of the Bench Boost, Free Hit and Triple Captain chips really increase your points total?

Recent & Upcoming Talks

Quantifying uncertainty in a predictive model for popularity dynamics

The Hawkes process is a form of point process which is self-exciting in nature, implying that the occurrence of events increases the …

Spreading of memes on multiplex networks

A model for the spreading of online information on multiplex networks is introduced and analyzed using branching-process methods. We …

Sporting contests through the lens of complex systems: A data-driven approach

Multiple facets of society have been studied in recent times due to the emergence of large-scale datasets arising from digital traces …

What makes a good (fantasy) football manager? - webscraping and data analysis in R

Arising from the desire for spectators of sporting contests to obtain more enjoyment, Fantasy sports have become increasing popular in …

A Generalization of the Classical Kelly Betting Formula to the Case of Temporal Correlation

For sequential betting games, Kelly’s theory, aimed at maximization of the logarithmic growth of one’s account value, …