Hierarchical Approximation Methods for Option Pricing and Stochastic Reaction Networks

  • Chiheb Ben Hammouda

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


In biochemically reactive systems with small copy numbers of one or more reactant molecules, stochastic effects dominate the dynamics. In the first part of this thesis, we design novel efficient simulation techniques for a reliable and fast estimation of various statistical quantities for stochastic biological and chemical systems under the framework of Stochastic Reaction Networks. In the first work, we propose a novel hybrid multilevel Monte Carlo (MLMC) estimator, for systems characterized by having simultaneously fast and slow timescales. Our hybrid multilevel estimator uses a novel split-step implicit tau-leap scheme at the coarse levels, where the explicit tau-leap method is not applicable due to numerical instability issues. In a second work, we address another challenge present in this context called the high kurtosis phenomenon, observed at the deep levels of the MLMC estimator. We propose a novel approach that combines the MLMC method with a pathwise-dependent importance sampling technique for simulating the coupled paths. Our theoretical estimates and numerical analysis show that our method improves the robustness and complexity of the multilevel estimator, with a negligible additional cost. In the second part of this thesis, we design novel methods for pricing financial derivatives. Option pricing is usually challenging due to: 1) The high dimensionality of the input space, and 2) The low regularity of the integrand on the input parameters. We address these challenges by developing different techniques for smoothing the integrand to uncover the available regularity. Then, we approximate the resulting integrals using hierarchical quadrature methods combined with Brownian bridge construction and Richardson extrapolation. In the first work, we apply our approach to efficiently price options under the rough Bergomi model. This model exhibits several numerical and theoretical challenges, implying classical numerical methods for pricing being either inapplicable or computationally expensive. In a second work, we design a numerical smoothing technique for cases where analytic smoothing is impossible. Our analysis shows that adaptive sparse grids’ quadrature combined with numerical smoothing outperforms the Monte Carlo approach. Furthermore, our numerical smoothing improves the robustness and the complexity of the MLMC estimator, particularly when estimating density functions.
Date of AwardJul 22 2020
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorRaul Tempone (Supervisor)


  • Multilevel Monte Carlo
  • smoothing techniques
  • Hierarchical quadrature methods
  • Continuous-time Markov chains
  • Option pricing
  • Stochastic biological/chemical systems

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