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The Data Detective

Credit: PM Prize/Wildbear

Michael Aitken received the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation in 2016. Credit: PM Prize/Wildbear

By Ann Leduc

Michael Aitken made his name developing software to detect stockmarket fraud, and now believes he can save the health sector $20 billion by detecting fraud and waste.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Many Australians invest their savings on the stockmarket, and trust that the stockmarket will give them a fair go. They may not realise that their nest egg is being watched over by technology developed right here in Australia.

Now owned by Nasdaq, SMARTS is the dominant software for market surveillance. It’s used by more than 55 national exchanges and regulators as well as 120 international brokers across 50 countries. This is Australian technology helping Mom and Pop investors the world over, and it’s only one of four technologies developed under the leadership of a very unconventional academic, Michael Aitken, Professor of ICT Strategy at Macquarie University and CEO of the Capital Markets Cooperative Research Centre (CMCRC). Aitken dedicated his life to making markets fairer and more transparent and, in the process, is reinventing how academics do their work.

Reflecting upon his award of the 2016 Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation, Aitken said he was struck by the similarities between his experience and that of Prof Richard Shine of The University of Sydney, who won the 2016 PM’s Prize for Science for his research on cane toads: “Richard pointed out that he was amazed how simple fieldwork could trump sophisticated labs and equipment, and I empathise with his point,” he said. “At the heart of my work was the simple recognition that pre-existing...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.