I have often called the quants alchemists. However, today they do not try to turn lead into gold, but try to turn 200-variable computer models into gold.
"In 1920, the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises offered a proof of the impossibility of socialist calculation. The proof was based upon the idea that without information produced by market operations, central planners would not be able to establish prices at an equilibrium point that would adequately balance supply and demand. ... The essence of the 'new' socialist argument is based on the idea that computers make economic calculation possible, providing both the necessary number crunching as well as data gathering", Vox Day at worldnetdaily.com, 20 August. What? The quants are really socialists, but instead of modeling the real economy, they model financial markets? Say it ain't so Joe. Vassily Leontief won a Nobel Prize in economics for "imput-output" analysis for this type of computer modeling. It's never worked and is not likely ever to work.