A professor at my college (I'm a rising sophomore) expressed interest in me working for him as an RA as I have had previous research experience prior to coming to college and I did well my freshman year. He told me that he has projects that he is working on, but what he would enjoy more is for me to come to him with an interesting project idea and then he will just pay me to go loose on the work and come to him when I get stuck. In all my prior research experience I've always been assigned a research question or topic and from experience with open-ended classroom assignments I always struggle with finding a good topic and having that topic satiate my interest for a long time. I was wondering if you guys had any pointers as to how to come up with an interesting problem or research question. Furthermore, I want to do some work in financial trading, or quantitative finance or some field that utilizes heavy amounts of modeling and programming so if you know of any open research problems in those fields, feel free!
One of the discussions in financial forecasting is whether econometric methods or machine learning methods give more sound results. Have a look at this paper.