SICSA Saltire Emerging Research Scheme – Visit at the Research Centre for Information Systems Engineering (LIRIS) in KU Leuven

8 July 2022,

by Rui Ying, University of Edinburgh

Hi, I am Rui Ying! I am a third-year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh Business School. My research interest is in financial modelling for Open Banking, where I drill down into individuals’ cash flow transactions to assess personal financial risks.

Under the SICSA’s Saltire Emerging Research Scheme, I completed a three-month research visit at the research centre for Information Systems Engineering (LIRIS) in KU Leuven. I worked closely with Prof Johannes de Smedt, who is an expert in data science and business informatics. Our project is focused on identifying risky accounts which might portray anomalous behaviours. Being able to flag risky accounts eases fraud checks where investigators can directly spot the high-risk group instead of
manually checking the accounts.

During the visit, we developed a cluster-based outlier detection model to assess anomaly risks. Specifically, we identify the profiles of financial behaviours in the first stage, and then compute the outlier scores for each account in the second stage. The anomaly risk assessment is based on the computed outlier scores where a higher score indicates a higher degree of outlyingness, and thus, a larger deviation from the conventional income and spending patterns. Throughout my research stay, I have joined several academic seminars on outlier detection which showcased innovative algorithms to capture anomalies, which are interesting new knowledge for me. I also presented my research output in LIRIS. It was an engaging presentation, with inspiring ideas and feedback that are helpful to further improve the current output.

This research collaboration has brought productive research outcomes and exciting network-building with colleagues in LIRIS. The next plan is to continue our collaboration in an online manner for further refinements of the current research output and to get the work published.

Great thanks to the Saltire Emerging Research Scheme to make this fruitful research visit possible!