need your knowledge

From: stefan
Email: stefan.dewachter@wolfson.ox.ac.uk


Hello! I'm posting this to ask you if you know about the following. I was told - or rather, "it has been said" - that in the late 1970s a calculator was invented that had a function to calculate the price of a financial option using the so-called Black-Scholes formula. Maybe you are familiar with this stuff, but basically, it is a formula linking characteristics of a financial derivative product - a call option - to its price. So in a sense it's just a function of several variables returning a single real number. The special thing about this, though, is that the function is quite complicated (e.g. it doesn't have a simple algebraic closed form as it contains integrals of the density of the normal distribution). Legend has it that although scientific calculators were yet to take of at the time, a model existed that had this "Black-Scholes button". I have been looking on the web, primarily following links from a number of sites dedicated to old calculators, but can't find anything at all. So my question is, do you happen to know anything about this? (I'm not sure that this is not one of these "modern legends".) Maybe you wonder why I'm interested in this. Well, basically, the Black-Scholes formula (published in 1973) revolutionarized the financial markets dealing with derivative products from something of a micro-niche to a pretty mainstream thing, and the appearance of this calculator (given the state of the art of technology at the time and the computational complexity of the function) is a nice illustration of the importance of this evolution. If you know or have some promising pointers or you're pretty sure this never existed, please let me know! thanks a lot! stefan