quantitative hedge fund

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pages: 701 words: 199,010

The Crisis of Crowding: Quant Copycats, Ugly Models, and the New Crash Normal by Ludwig B. Chincarini

affirmative action, asset-backed security, automated trading system, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Black-Scholes formula, business cycle, buttonwood tree, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delta neutral, discounted cash flows, diversification, diversified portfolio, family office, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, full employment, Gini coefficient, high net worth, hindsight bias, housing crisis, implied volatility, income inequality, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, John Meriwether, Kickstarter, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, margin call, market design, market fundamentalism, merger arbitrage, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Mitch Kapor, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, negative equity, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, oil shock, price stability, quantitative easing, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Waldo Emerson, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, Sharpe ratio, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, survivorship bias, systematic trading, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

A trader’s size affects market prices, as does the quantity of similar traders in a space. Thus, traders must think of market prices as endogenous rather than exogenous, especially in saturated trading spaces. By 2007, the market had more quantitative hedge funds than it used to, so the space was more crowded. Hedge funds running similar strategies in similar ways helped cause the 2007 quant crisis. Large quant funds must be thoughtful in using well-known strategies. Most less-sophisticated players also use these strategies, making funds more correlated. The former co-head of one of the world’s largest quantitative hedge funds commented on these lessons: With the benefit of hindsight, our firm and the industry was too big. There are subtle issues that arise when you are a big firm. We had some analytics to figure out the deterioration of Sharpe ratio due to more assets chasing the same strategy.

chincarinil@hotmail.com Cast of Characters Herbert Allison: President and COO of Merrill Lynch during the LTCM crisis. Appointed President and CEO of Fannie Mae in September 2008 and is currently the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability of the United States. Madelyn Antoncic: Managing Director and Chief Risk Officer at Lehman Brothers during the financial crisis. Cliff Asness: Co-founder and CEO of the quantitative hedge fund AQR Capital Management. Previously was Managing Director of Quantitative Research at Goldman Sachs. Ben Bernanke: Chairman of the Federal Reserve during the crisis of 2008. Lloyd Blankfein: CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs. Steve Blasnik: President and CEO of Parkcentral Capital Management, a relative value hedge fund that managed Ross Perot and other investors' private wealth. Warren Buffett: Billionaire investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

John Maynard Keynes: British economist who first mentioned ideas of quantitative easing. Alex Kirk: Managing Director and global head of high-yield and leveraged loans at Lehman Brothers during financial crisis. William Krasker: Principal at LTCM. Modeler at LTCM. Arjun Krishnamacher: Principal at LTCM and JWMP. Ken Kroner: Head of Blackrock's global market strategies overseeing the quantitative hedge fund group. Jim Leach: Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Iowa during LTCM crisis. Dick Leahy: Principal at LTCM and JWMP. Handled mortgage trading and co-managed with Meriwether the Macro fund at JWMP. Ken Lewis: CEO and Chairman of Bank of America during the financial crisis. John Mack: CEO and Chairman of Morgan Stanley during the financial crisis. Deryck Maughan: Chairman and CEO of Salomon Brothers from 1992 to 1997, Vice Chairman of Citigroup from 1998 to 2004, Vice Chairman of the NYSE from 1996 to 2000, and currently partner at KKR.


Quantitative Trading: How to Build Your Own Algorithmic Trading Business by Ernie Chan

algorithmic trading, asset allocation, automated trading system, backtesting, Black Swan, Brownian motion, business continuity plan, buy and hold, compound rate of return, Edward Thorp, Elliott wave, endowment effect, fixed income, general-purpose programming language, index fund, John Markoff, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, p-value, paper trading, price discovery process, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, Sharpe ratio, short selling, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, survivorship bias, systematic trading, transaction costs

Is there anything common between managing a $100 million portfolio and managing a $100,000 portfolio? My contention is that it is much more logical and sensible for someone to become a profitable $100,000 trader before xi P1: JYS fm JWBK321-Chan xii September 24, 2008 13:43 Printer: Yet to come PREFACE becoming a profitable $100 million trader. This can be shown to be true on many fronts. Many legendary quantitative hedge fund managers such as Dr. Edward Thorp of the former Princeton-Newport Partners (Poundstone, 2005) and Dr. Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies Corp. (Lux, 2000) started their careers trading their own money. They did not begin as portfolio managers for investment banks and hedge funds before starting their own fund management business. Of course, there are also plenty of counterexamples, but clearly this is a possible route to riches as well as intellectual accomplishment, and for someone with an entrepreneurial bent, a preferred route.

An example of this is the summer 2007 meltdown, described in the previously cited article “What Happened to the Quants in August 2007?” by Amir Khandani and Andrew Lo. During August 2007, under the ominous cloud of a housing and mortgage default crisis, a number of well-known hedge funds experienced unprecedented losses, with Goldman Sachs’s Global Alpha fund falling 22.5 percent. Several billion dollars evaporated within all of one week. Even Renaissance Technologies Corporation, arguably the most successful quantitative hedge fund of all time, lost 8.7 percent in the first half of August, though it later recovered most of it. Not only is the magnitude of the loss astounding, but the widespread nature of it was causing great concern in the financial community. Strangest of all, few of these funds hold any mortgage-backed securities at all, ostensibly the root cause of the panic. It therefore became a classic study of financial contagion as propagated by hedge funds.

When you have reached a point where your capacity is higher than what the Kelly formula suggests you can prudently utilize, it P1: JYS c08 JWBK321-Chan 162 August 27, 2008 15:20 Printer: Yet to come QUANTITATIVE TRADING may be time for you to start taking on investors, who will at the very least defray the costs of your infrastructure, if not provide an incentive fee. Alternatively, you might want to take your strategy (and, more importantly, your track record) to one of the larger hedge funds and ask for a profit-sharing contract. After the recent major losses at quantitative hedge funds, many people have started to wonder if quantitative trading is viable in the long term. Though the talk of the demise of quantitative strategies appears to be premature at this point, it is still an important question from the perspective of an independent trader. Once you have automated everything and your equity is growing exponentially, can you just sit back, relax, and enjoy your wealth?


pages: 584 words: 187,436

More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite by Sebastian Mallaby

Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, automated trading system, bank run, barriers to entry, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, computerized trading, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Elliott wave, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, full employment, German hyperinflation, High speed trading, index fund, John Meriwether, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, merger arbitrage, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nikolai Kondratiev, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, pre–internet, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Thaler, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Mercer, rolodex, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, survivorship bias, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, the new new thing, too big to fail, transaction costs

In similar fashion, the Nobel laureates Myron Scholes and Robert Merton, whose formula for pricing options grew out of the efficient-markets school, signed up with the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management. Andrei Shleifer, the Harvard economist who had compared the efficient-market theory to a crashing stock, helped to create an investment company called LSV with two fellow finance professors. His coauthor, Lawrence Summers, made the most of a gap between stints as president of Harvard and economic adviser to President Obama to sign on with D. E. Shaw, a quantitative hedge fund.9 Yet the biggest effect of the new inefficient-market consensus was not that academics flocked to hedge funds. It was that institutional investors acquired a license to entrust vast amounts of capital to them. Again, the years after the 1987 crash were an inflection point. Before, most money in hedge funds had come from rich individuals, who presumably had not heard academia’s message that it was impossible to beat the market.

Then came the crisis of 2007–2009, and every judgment about finance was thrown into question. Whereas the market disruptions of the 1990s could be viewed as a tolerable price to pay for the benefits of sophisticated and leveraged finance, the convulsion of 2007–2009 triggered the sharpest recession since the 1930s. Inevitably, hedge funds were caught up in the panic. In July 2007, a credit hedge fund called Sowood blew up, and the following month a dozen or so quantitative hedge funds tried to cut their positions all at once, triggering wild swings in the equity market and billions of dollars of losses. The following year was more brutal by far. The collapse of Lehman Brothers left some hedge funds with money trapped inside the bankrupt shell, and the turmoil that followed inflicted losses on most others. Hedge funds needed access to leverage, but nobody lent to anyone in the weeks after the Lehman shock.

The place felt like an upmarket science facility—comfortable, low-key, eerily clean—and on the door of one office along an antiseptic corridor, somebody had stuck an article with the title “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.” The windowless rooms that housed racks of computer servers were guarded with elaborate key systems, but the facility’s most striking feature was its openness. Whereas other quantitative hedge funds enforced fierce internal Chinese walls, doling out information to employees on a need-to-know basis in an effort to protect secrets, the atmosphere at Renaissance was altogether different. The scientists roamed the corridors freely, constrained only by the danger that Peter Brown would crash into them on his unicycle. Mirrors had been positioned at critical corners so you could see if Brown was coming.


pages: 304 words: 99,836

Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story by Greg Smith

always be closing, asset allocation, Black Swan, bonus culture, break the buck, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, East Village, fixed income, Flash crash, glass ceiling, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, information asymmetry, London Interbank Offered Rate, mega-rich, money market fund, new economy, Nick Leeson, quantitative hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, short selling, Silicon Valley, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Stanford marshmallow experiment, statistical model, technology bubble, too big to fail

Laura was too senior to get into the weeds; she was often in management meetings. Daffey needed someone by Connors’s side to help build the business. Would I do it? I was immediately excited. When the partner in charge of Derivatives Sales offers you an opportunity like this, I thought, you jump on it. I jumped on it. The new job was an opportunity to learn a broader set of derivatives products and diversify my client base into sovereign wealth funds, quantitative hedge funds, and state pension plans. Also, I thought it would be fun. And it worked out. The markets turned around in 2005, and our little Derivatives Sales team—Laura, Connors, and me—began to fire on all cylinders. The fanatical attention to detail that Corey had taught me helped our desk consolidate our gains. Connors and I made a great team. I did the heavy lifting, saw to the nuts and bolts, and did some schmoozing.

“That was a fun time this weekend,” he said. The king of understatement. ——— The year 2006 was a big one for Goldman Sachs. The markets kept booming, and Derivatives Sales continued to rack up revenues. Clients were confident: they were trading; they were taking risk. I was executing well for them, which led to more business, because they knew I was looking after them. My clients included some of the biggest asset managers, quantitative hedge funds, and sovereign wealth funds in the world. The commission business—flat, transparent fees on agency orders in things such as futures, exchange-traded funds, and options—was flourishing. The cash register was ringing. But change was in the air. At the end of May, our CEO, Hank Paulson, was appointed U.S. secretary of the treasury, and Lloyd Blankfein became CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs.

In the meantime, these structured products can generate millions of dollars in revenues for Wall Street firms. It is not the most glamorous work, but make no mistake: quants can be worth their weight in gold; the best ones get paid millions of dollars. Sadly, that’s why actual rocket scientists and engineers leave their professions for the allure of making ten times as much money in finance. Some quants have gone out on their own and started quantitative hedge funds, relying on their smarts and the models they’ve built to generate outsize returns for themselves and their investors. (When you hear someone on Wall Street talk about a “black box,” there isn’t an actual box. It is the computer model that one of these quants has built.) It was my job to cover the biggest quant funds on the Street—in particular, Goldman’s flagship fund, Global Alpha, run by Mark Carhart and Ray Iwanowski; AQR Capital, run by Cliff Asness; and Bridgewater Associates, run by Ray Dalio.


pages: 733 words: 179,391

Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew W. Lo

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, Arthur Eddington, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, break the buck, Brownian motion, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Carmen Reinhart, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Diane Coyle, diversification, diversified portfolio, double helix, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Ernest Rutherford, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, framing effect, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, housing crisis, incomplete markets, index fund, interest rate derivative, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, martingale, merger arbitrage, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, old-boy network, out of africa, p-value, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, predatory finance, prediction markets, price discovery process, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, RAND corporation, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sam Peltzman, Shai Danziger, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, statistical arbitrage, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, Thales and the olive presses, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, US Airways Flight 1549, Walter Mischel, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

He first introduced me to several models in theoretical biology that were particularly relevant to economics, and in 1999 he and I published a paper outlining the possibility of applying evolutionary arguments to the Efficient Markets Hypothesis.22 He has since published many more papers applying ideas in physics and biology to finance. In addition to his academic pursuits, Doyne cofounded a successful quantitative hedge fund called Prediction Company with his fellow physicist, Norman Packard. This fund uses multiple algorithmic trading strategies to make money in stock markets around the world. Based on his experience, Doyne published a fascinating article in 2002 titled “Market Force, Ecology, and Evolution,” where he developed a precise analogy between financial markets and biological ecologies. His theory builds on Grossman and Stiglitz’s insight that if markets were perfectly efficient there would be no motive for financial trading, so markets can never be perfectly efficient.

Finally, Thursday evening, central banks around the world acted in unison and injected billions of dollars into the global banking system because of a temporary breakdown in the overnight interbank lending market. This intervention may well have relieved the pressure to liquidate various holdings among the largest banks, including statarb portfolios. Amir Khandani and I called this narrative the “Unwind Hypothesis.” This explanation meant good news and bad news for the quantitative hedge fund industry. The good news is that quantitative funds were singled out during the week of August 6, 2007, not because of a breakdown in any specific quantitative strategy, but more likely due to the sudden liquidation of a large quantitative equity market-neutral portfolio. The bad news is that these losses imply a growing systemic risk in the hedge fund sector (not to be confused with systematic risk).

But liquidity isn’t easy to measure—you can’t look it up on a Bloomberg terminal—and we may not notice its changes over time and therefore can’t adapt appropriately. This became painfully clear to Amir Khandani and me when we ran one further simulation in our August 2007 research.38 In the last chapter, I described our simulation of a daily mean-reversion strategy based on how well stocks performed the previous day. But the most sophisticated quantitative hedge funds trade from minute to minute, second to second, and nowadays, even microsecond to microsecond. So Amir and I decided to simulate a higher-frequency strategy using transaction prices for all trades in the S&P 1500, time-stamped to the nearest tenth of a second, from July 2, 2007, to September 30, 2007, a three-month period surrounding the Quant Meltdown. This involved processing a total of 805 million trades—a prime example of the uses of “big data.”


pages: 296 words: 78,112

Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency by Joshua Green

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bernie Sanders, business climate, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, coherent worldview, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, corporate raider, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Donald Trump, Fractional reserve banking, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, illegal immigration, immigration reform, liberation theology, low skilled workers, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, nuclear winter, obamacare, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, quantitative hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, urban planning

He was dressed up as one of his favorite movie characters of all-time, Brigadier General Frank Savage, the tough-as-nails commander, played by Gregory Peck, who takes over a demoralized World War II bombing unit and whips them into fighting shape in the 1949 classic Twelve O’Clock High. Ordinarily, Bannon wasn’t big into cosplay. But this was a special occasion: the annual Christmas party thrown by the reclusive billionaire Robert Mercer, an eccentric computer scientist who was co-CEO of the fabled quantitative hedge fund Renaissance Technologies. As introverted and private as Bannon was voluble and outspoken, Mercer was nonetheless a man of ardent passions. He collected machine guns and owned the gas-operated AR-18 assault rifle that Arnold Schwarzenegger wielded in The Terminator. He had built a $2.7 million model train set equipped with a miniature video camera to allow operators to experience the view from inside the cockpit of his toy engine.

“Statistical machine translation,” as the process became known, soon outpaced the old method and went on to become the basis of modern speech-recognition software and tools such as Google Translate. At Renaissance, Mercer and Brown applied this approach broadly to the markets, feeding all kinds of abstruse data into their computers in a never-ending hunt for hidden correlations. Sometimes they found them in strange places. Even by the paranoid standards of black-box quantitative hedge funds, Renaissance is notoriously secretive about its methods. But in 2010, one intriguing example of the patterns it turns up became public. As the author Sebastian Mallaby details in his history of the hedge-fund industry, More Money Than God, a group of scientists at the firm’s flagship Medallion Fund discovered a correlation between weather patterns and market performance. As Mallaby writes: “In one simple example, the brain trust discovered that fine morning weather in a city tended to predict an upward movement in its stock exchange.


pages: 407 words: 104,622

The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution by Gregory Zuckerman

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, automated trading system, backtesting, Bayesian statistics, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blockchain, Brownian motion, butter production in bangladesh, buy and hold, buy low sell high, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, computerized trading, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Thorp, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, Flash crash, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, illegal immigration, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Loma Prieta earthquake, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, More Guns, Less Crime, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, natural language processing, obamacare, p-value, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Thaler, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Sharpe ratio, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steve Jobs, stochastic process, the scientific method, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine

The drop didn’t seem like a big deal, though. Most senior investors were on vacation, after all, so reading into the losses didn’t seem worthwhile. By that summer, a group of quantitative hedge funds had emerged dominant. Inspired by Simons’s success, most had their own market-neutral strategies just as reliant on computer models and automated trades. In Morgan Stanley’s midtown Manhattan headquarters, Peter Muller—a blue-eyed quant who played piano at a local club in his free time—led a team managing $6 billion for a division of the bank called PDT. In Greenwich, Connecticut, Clifford Asness, a University of Chicago PhD, helped lead a $39 billion quantitative hedge-fund firm called AQR Capital Management. And in Chicago, Ken Griffin—who, in the late 1980s, had installed a satellite dish on his dormitory roof at Harvard to get up-to-the-second quotes—was using high-powered computers to make statistical-arbitrage trades and other moves at his $13 billion firm, Citadel.


pages: 402 words: 110,972

Nerds on Wall Street: Math, Machines and Wired Markets by David J. Leinweber

AI winter, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, business cycle, butter production in bangladesh, butterfly effect, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, citizen journalism, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Danny Hillis, demand response, disintermediation, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, financial innovation, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, information retrieval, intangible asset, Internet Archive, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, load shedding, Long Term Capital Management, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, market fragmentation, market microstructure, Mars Rover, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, negative equity, Network effects, optical character recognition, paper trading, passive investing, pez dispenser, phenotype, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, semantic web, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, smart grid, smart meter, social web, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing machine, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Vernor Vinge, yield curve, Yogi Berra, your tax dollars at work

They were looking to make a boatload of cash, and willing to commit firm capital to do so.4 Nunzio Tartaglia, a Jesuit-educated Ph.D. physicist with the vocabulary of a sailor, started an automated trading group at Morgan Stanley in the mid-1980s. He hired young Columbia computer science professor David Shaw. At first, a few papers about hooking Unix systems to market systems emerged. Then the former academics realized there was no alpha in publications. Shaw went on to found D.E. Shaw & Company, one of the largest and most consistently successful quantitative hedge funds. Fischer Black’s Quantitative Strategies Group at Goldman Sachs were algo pioneers. They were perhaps the first to use computers for actual trading, as well as for identifying trades. The early alpha seekers were the first combatants in the algo wars. Pairs trading, popular at the time, relied on statistical models. Finding stronger short-term correlations than the next guy had big rewards.

Fischer Black, after leaving MIT for Goldman Sachs, said, “Markets look a lot more efficient from the banks of the Charles than from the banks of the Hudson.”3 Someone gets to pick up that $100 bill. Back on the banks of the Charles in Boston 25 years later, Andy Lo wrote,“Profits may be viewed as the economic rents which accrue to [the] competitive advantage of . . . superior information, superior technology, financial innovation. . . .”4 If this conjures up images of ever faster, better, larger computing engines at giant quantitative hedge funds, you are getting the message. But this idea is not suddenly true today; it has been true forever. Innovations used to use less electricity, though. In 1790, the technology that produced vast alpha for innovative traders was boats. After the American Revolution, war bonds were trading for less than a nickel on the dollar. There was a general expectation that the new country and the states would default on the substantial debt.


pages: 193 words: 51,445

On the Future: Prospects for Humanity by Martin J. Rees

23andMe, 3D printing, air freight, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, blockchain, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic transition, distributed ledger, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, global village, Hyperloop, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Conway, life extension, mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, quantitative hedge fund, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart grid, speech recognition, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanislav Petrov, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, the scientific method, Tunguska event, uranium enrichment, Walter Mischel, Yogi Berra

The scenarios discussed in the last section are sufficiently near term that we need to plan for them and adjust to them. But what about the longer-term prospects? These are murkier, and there is no consensus among experts on the speed of advance in machine intelligence—and indeed on what the limits to AI might be. It seems plausible that an AI linked to the internet could ‘clean up’ on the stock market by analysing far more data far faster than any human. To some extent this is what quantitative hedge funds are already doing. But for interactions with humans, or even with the complex and fast-changing environment encountered by a driverless car on an ordinary road, processing power is not enough; computers would need sensors that enable them to see and hear as well as humans do, and the software to process and interpret what the sensors relay. But even that would not be sufficient. Computers learn from a ‘training set’ of similar activities, where success is immediately ‘rewarded’ and reinforced.


pages: 519 words: 155,332

Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America's Fifty-Year Fall--And Those Fighting to Reverse It by Steven Brill

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, failed state, financial deregulation, financial innovation, future of work, ghettoisation, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, immigration reform, income inequality, invention of radio, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, obamacare, old-boy network, paper trading, performance metric, post-work, Potemkin village, Powell Memorandum, quantitative hedge fund, Ralph Nader, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, telemarketer, too big to fail, trade liberalization, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor

Those who controlled the funds, including the hedge funds and mutual funds that served the pension funds that did not invest on their own, cared less about the long-term success of the companies whose stocks they held than about whether, when the prices of the stocks they had picked were tallied every quarter, they would look better or worse than their competitors or even the other stock-pickers sitting next to them in their fund’s office. They, too, were in it for the short term. The change was revolutionary. In 1960, stock was held by its owner for an average of eight years and four months. In 1980, the average was two years, nine months. In 2016 the average was four months, and high-frequency, split-second trading of stocks, often done by quantitative hedge funds—another creation of the knowledge economy, which buy and sell stocks based on algorithms—was estimated to account for roughly half of all stock trades. If shareholders were now in it for the short term, so, too, were the managers of the shareholders’ companies. Their compensation increasingly depended, Jensen-style, on the quarterly or annual increase in the stock price. That in turn was typically based on a multiple of the company’s quarterly or annual earnings, not on whether the company was making investments that might hurt those earnings in the short term but were sensible, necessary long-term investments.

In 1960, stock was held: PolitiFact used historical data from the New York Stock Exchange to compute these averages: Warren Fiske, “Mark Warner Says Average Holding Time for Stocks Has Fallen to Four Months,” PolitiFact, July 6, 2016, http://www.politifact.com/​virginia/​statements/​2016/​jul/​06/​mark-warner/​mark-warner-says-average-holding-time-stocks-has-f/. In 1980, the average: Ibid. In 2016 the average: Ibid. quantitative hedge funds: Gregory Zuckerman and Bradley Hope, “The Quants Run Wall Street Now,” Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/​articles/​the-quants-run-wall-street-now-1495389108?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_axiosfutureofwork&stream=future-of-work. estimated to account for roughly half: Ryan Vlastelica, “High-Frequency Trading Has Reshaped Wall Street in Its Image,” Marketwatch, March 17, 2017, http://www.marketwatch.com/​story/​high-frequency-trading-has-reshaped-wall-street-in-its-image-2017-03-15?


pages: 204 words: 58,565

Keeping Up With the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics by Thomas H. Davenport, Jinho Kim

Black-Scholes formula, business intelligence, business process, call centre, computer age, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, forensic accounting, global supply chain, Hans Rosling, hypertext link, invention of the telescope, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, longitudinal study, margin call, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Myron Scholes, Netflix Prize, p-value, performance metric, publish or perish, quantitative hedge fund, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, six sigma, Skype, statistical model, supply-chain management, text mining, the scientific method, Thomas Davenport

As Charles Duhigg has noted in a recent book, The Power of Habit, human behavior, once established, can be remarkably persistent over time.4 That allows us to magically predict the future on the basis of the past. Some organizations utilize high-priced talent just to ask penetrating questions about assumptions. Take Larry Summers, for example. The former economic adviser to the Clinton and Obama adminstrations and former president of Harvard University has worked as an adviser to D.E. Shaw, a quantitative hedge fund. Tom ran into Summers at a social occasion and asked him what he did for the company. He said, “I go in once a week and walk around the desks of the quants who build mathematical trading models. I ask them what the assumptions are behind their models, and under what circumstances they would be violated. You would be surprised how often they can’t give me a clear answer.” Summers was reportedly paid $5 million for playing this role, so it must have been perceived as valuable.


pages: 233 words: 67,596

Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning by Thomas H. Davenport, Jeanne G. Harris

always be closing, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, business intelligence, business process, call centre, commoditize, data acquisition, digital map, en.wikipedia.org, global supply chain, high net worth, if you build it, they will come, intangible asset, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, knapsack problem, late fees, linear programming, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Netflix Prize, new economy, performance metric, personalized medicine, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, recommendation engine, RFID, search inside the book, shareholder value, six sigma, statistical model, supply-chain management, text mining, the scientific method, traveling salesman, yield management

One team that has adopted the “moneyball” approach is the Boston Red Sox—a team with both analytical capabilities and the money to invest in expensive players. The Red Sox also had a business need, having failed to win the World Series for eighty-six years by the 2004 season. The Sox also exemplify another reason why organizations adopt analytical competition: new leadership. The team’s two new principal owners in 2002 were John Henry, a quantitative hedge fund manager, and Tom Werner, a television producer who had previously owned the San Diego Padres. The appeal of analytics to Henry was obvious, but Werner had also realized with the Padres that the traditional baseball establishment didn’t know as much about what led to championships as it purported to. As we mentioned earlier, the high level of executive sponsorship at the Sox let the team take the full-steam-ahead approach to analytical competition.


pages: 263 words: 75,455

Quantitative Value: A Practitioner's Guide to Automating Intelligent Investment and Eliminating Behavioral Errors by Wesley R. Gray, Tobias E. Carlisle

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, backtesting, beat the dealer, Black Swan, business cycle, butter production in bangladesh, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, compound rate of return, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, discounted cash flows, Edward Thorp, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, forensic accounting, hindsight bias, intangible asset, Louis Bachelier, p-value, passive investing, performance metric, quantitative hedge fund, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, statistical model, survivorship bias, systematic trading, The Myth of the Rational Market, time value of money, transaction costs

A PEEK INSIDE THE BLACK BOX Many investors legitimately fear that quantitative analysis is an inscrutable “black box,” from which emanate incomprehensible investment ideas, many of which don't look like winners. While we know the past results for Quantitative Value have been outstanding, it often feels like one or more of the current crop of stocks selected by the model are particularly weak and should be avoided. Surely we can pick and choose from the model's output? Jim Simons disagrees. The billionaire mathematician turned quantitative hedge fund titan, believes that much of his success is attributable to his strict adherence to the output of his models6: Did you like what the model said or did you not like what the model said? That is a hard thing to backtest. If you are going to trade using models, you just slavishly use the models; you do whatever the hell it says no matter how smart or dumb you think it might be at that moment.”


pages: 252 words: 72,473

Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Madoff, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, call centre, carried interest, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, Emanuel Derman, housing crisis, I will remember that I didn’t make the world, and it doesn’t satisfy my equations, illegal immigration, Internet of things, late fees, mass incarceration, medical bankruptcy, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price discrimination, quantitative hedge fund, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, Rubik’s Cube, Sharpe ratio, statistical model, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working poor

How likely is it that a mortal threat will arise in the next year or two? To come up with these odds, scientists run thousands upon thousands of simulations. There was plenty to complain about with this method, but it was a simple way to get some handle on your risk. My job was to act as a liaison between our risk management business and the largest and most discerning connoisseurs of risk, the quantitative hedge funds. I’d call the hedge funds, or they’d call me, and we’d discuss any questions they had about our numbers. As often as not, though, they’d notify me only when we’d made a mistake. The fact was, the hedge funds always considered themselves the smartest of the smart, and since understanding risk was fundamental to their existence, they would never rely entirely on outsiders like us. They had their own risk teams, and they bought our product mostly to look good for investors.


pages: 258 words: 71,880

Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street by Kate Kelly

bank run, buy and hold, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Donald Trump, fixed income, housing crisis, index arbitrage, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, moral hazard, quantitative hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, shareholder value, technology bubble, too big to fail, traveling salesman

Cioffi and his boss were relieved of their day-to-day operational duties, and Tom Marano, who understood mortgage securities better than any other executive, was called in to do triage. But Marano could not get things under control. The combination of falling asset prices and a huge debt load made it impossible to pay creditors back. Late in July, he reluctantly filed for bankruptcy protection for both funds. In August, market conditions turned hellacious. During the first week alone, a number of quantitative hedge funds, which rely on sophisticated mathematical predictions to make trades, sustained double-digit percentage losses. Securities firm stocks were getting hit, too. Bear had lost more than $50 per share since its spring high, and competitors like Lehman and Merrill were also getting crushed. On Friday, August 3, Standard & Poor’s confirmed what many investors and rival firms had come to believe.


pages: 317 words: 84,400

Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World by Christopher Steiner

23andMe, Ada Lovelace, airport security, Al Roth, algorithmic trading, backtesting, big-box store, Black-Scholes formula, call centre, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delta neutral, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, dumpster diving, Flash crash, G4S, Gödel, Escher, Bach, High speed trading, Howard Rheingold, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge economy, late fees, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, medical residency, money market fund, Myron Scholes, Narrative Science, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Mercer, Sergey Aleynikov, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator

And some states, including New York, have ordered 23andMe and similar services to get approval from the state’s health department, declaring their tests to be medical and therefore open to regulation. Such regulation is “appallingly paternalistic,” says 23andMe, adding that people have a right to information contained within their own genes. Such genomic scanning is now fast and affordable, thanks in part to Nick Patterson, a Wall Street hacker who after eight years at Renaissance Technologies, the quantitative hedge fund, joined up with the Broad Institute, a joint research center of Harvard and MIT, in 2001. Working at Renaissance, which makes money off of sorting data and spotting patterns that nobody else can, made Patterson the perfect person to help the Broad Institute, which was drowning in DNA data so deep that the researchers there found it to be unnavigable. The information from sequencing just hundreds of people’s complete DNA genomes produces data so copious that researchers usually don’t send it to others across the Internet because such a transfer would take weeks.


pages: 337 words: 86,320

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

affirmative action, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, Bernie Sanders, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Cass Sunstein, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Filter Bubble, game design, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, John Snow's cholera map, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, Nate Silver, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, price discrimination, quantitative hedge fund, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, TaskRabbit, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, working poor

Summers, who is not someone known for effusing about other people’s intelligence, was certain the hedge funds were already way ahead of us. I was quite taken during our conversation by how much respect he had for them and how many of my suggestions he was convinced they’d beaten us to. I proudly shared with him an algorithm I had devised that allowed me to obtain more complete Google Trends data. He said it was clever. When I asked him if Renaissance, a quantitative hedge fund, would have figured out that algorithm, he chuckled and said, “Yeah, of course they would have figured that out.” The difficulty of keeping up with the hedge funds wasn’t the only fundamental problem that Summers and I ran up against in using new, big datasets to beat the markets. THE CURSE OF DIMENSIONALITY Suppose your strategy for predicting the stock market is to find a lucky coin—but one that will be found through careful testing.


pages: 346 words: 89,180

Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel, Stian Westlake

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, business climate, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, endogenous growth, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial innovation, full employment, fundamental attribution error, future of work, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, job automation, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mother of all demos, Network effects, new economy, open economy, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, place-making, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, quantitative hedge fund, rent-seeking, revision control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Vanguard fund, walkable city, X Prize, zero-sum game

It’s easy to imagine how low-skilled workers in developed countries might lose out if they don’t have the skills to work with computers, or if their jobs are threatened by lower-paid workers in other countries. But the way these changes would benefit only the very rich is less clear. Some of the very rich have gotten richer because of technology or because they employ cheap foreign labor. But certainly not all. For every Silicon Valley mogul or quantitative hedge fund owner, there are a lot of senior managers of what we’d think of as normal businesses among the new elite. Piketty, for example, estimates that between 60 and 70 percent of the top 0.1 percent are chief executives and other senior corporate managers. A third confounding fact is the role of housing in wealth inequality. Not long after the publication of Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the French economists Odran Bonnet, Pierre-Henri Bono, Guillaume Chapelle, and Etienne Wasmer noted that a big chunk of the growth in wealth inequality in both the United States and France was caused by the increase in value of residential property; Matthew Rognlie, an MIT graduate student who became known for his critique of Piketty, found the same (Bonnet et al. 2014; Rognlie 2015).


pages: 360 words: 101,038

The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter by David Sax

Airbnb, barriers to entry, big-box store, call centre, cloud computing, creative destruction, death of newspapers, declining real wages, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, Detroit bankruptcy, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, game design, hypertext link, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, low cost airline, low skilled workers, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Minecraft, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Rosa Parks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Travis Kalanick, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog

Douglas Rushkoff, an author on technology, said this created a form of “hypercapitalism” utterly divorced from the laws of supply and demand, actual commerce, and the creation of value. The speed and volume of transactions that digital technology enabled amplified the volatility of the market and the asset bubble more than anyone could have predicted. “The limitations of organic human memory and calculation used to put a cap on the intricacies of self-delusion,” wrote computer scientist and philosopher Jaron Lanier in his book You Are Not a Gadget. The rise of quantitative hedge funds turned capitalism into “search engines,” which Lanier described as the perfect “blending of cyber-cloud faith and Milton Friedman economics.” The recession hit when the real world couldn’t support the numbers being assigned to it by computers and speculators. The computer’s calculations were off, it turned out. House prices can go down. Pop went the world, and with it, Detroit. Unemployment in Detroit has since fallen from the nauseating heights of the recession, but it is still among the highest in America, and Detroit remains one of the nation’s poorest cities.


pages: 356 words: 105,533

Dark Pools: The Rise of the Machine Traders and the Rigging of the U.S. Stock Market by Scott Patterson

algorithmic trading, automated trading system, banking crisis, bash_history, Bernie Madoff, butterfly effect, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computerized trading, creative destruction, Donald Trump, fixed income, Flash crash, Francisco Pizarro, Gordon Gekko, Hibernia Atlantic: Project Express, High speed trading, Joseph Schumpeter, latency arbitrage, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, market microstructure, pattern recognition, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, popular electronics, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Sergey Aleynikov, Small Order Execution System, South China Sea, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stochastic process, transaction costs, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

At Amherst, Fleiss learned about the overwhelming success of Renaissance Technologies, the Long Island hedge fund that had started using Island in the late 1990s. While Fleiss was good at math, his skills didn’t come close to the abilities of a Jim Simons or a Peter Brown. But he did know one person he thought could go toe-to-toe with them: Spencer Greenberg. Fleiss began an aggressive campaign to convince Greenberg to help him start a quantitative hedge fund. At first, Greenberg was skeptical that higher-order math could be used on the market. But as he learned more about Renaissance, he began to think there might be more to what Fleiss was saying. While at Columbia, Greenberg started to consider various mathematical strategies that he could deploy in the market. The pair eventually teamed up with Newton and Sturges. In 2005, using funds from Fleiss’s stock market bets in college, which were based on an algorithm he’d designed, they set up shop in a six-hundred-square-foot office on 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan.


pages: 380 words: 118,675

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, buy and hold, call centre, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, game design, housing crisis, invention of movable type, inventory management, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, late fees, loose coupling, low skilled workers, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, optical character recognition, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Rodney Brooks, search inside the book, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, Skype, statistical arbitrage, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, Tony Hsieh, Whole Earth Catalog, why are manhole covers round?, zero-sum game

It’s the tale of how one gifted child grew into an extraordinarily driven and versatile CEO and how he, his family, and his colleagues bet heavily on a revolutionary network called the Internet, and on the grandiose vision of a single store that sells everything. PART I Faith CHAPTER 1 The House of Quants Before it was the self-proclaimed largest bookstore on Earth or the Web’s dominant superstore, Amazon.com was an idea floating through the New York City offices of one of the most unusual firms on Wall Street: D. E. Shaw & Co. A quantitative hedge fund, DESCO, as its employees affectionately called it, was started in 1988 by David E. Shaw, a former Columbia University computer science professor. Along with the founders of other groundbreaking quant houses of that era, like Renaissance Technologies and Tudor Investment Corporation, Shaw pioneered the use of computers and sophisticated mathematical formulas to exploit anomalous patterns in global financial markets.


pages: 374 words: 114,600

The Quants by Scott Patterson

Albert Einstein, asset allocation, automated trading system, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Blythe Masters, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brownian motion, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, centralized clearinghouse, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Haight Ashbury, I will remember that I didn’t make the world, and it doesn’t satisfy my equations, index fund, invention of the telegraph, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, Kickstarter, law of one price, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, merger arbitrage, money market fund, Myron Scholes, NetJets, new economy, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Mercer, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Sergey Aleynikov, short selling, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, statistical arbitrage, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Predators' Ball, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, volatility smile, yield curve, éminence grise

His elite team of traders, hidden away in a small enclave on Long Island, marshaled the most mind-bending advances in science and mathematics, from quantum physics to artificial intelligence to voice recognition technology, to wring billions in profits from the market. Simons was the rare investor who could make Muller feel jaw-clenchingly jealous. The two had known each other since the early 1990s, when Muller briefly considered joining Renaissance before starting his own quantitative hedge fund inside Morgan Stanley, the giant New York investment bank. Muller’s elite trading group, which he called Process Driven Trading, was so secretive that even most employees at Morgan weren’t aware of its existence. Yet over the previous decade the group, composed of only about fifty people, had racked up a track record that could go toe-to-toe with the best investment outfits on Wall Street, cranking out $6 billion in gains for Morgan.


pages: 471 words: 124,585

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson

Admiral Zheng, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, Atahualpa, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, commoditize, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deglobalization, diversification, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, German hyperinflation, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, iterative process, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour mobility, Landlord’s Game, liberal capitalism, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, negative equity, Nelson Mandela, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Parag Khanna, pension reform, price anchoring, price stability, principal–agent problem, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, RAND corporation, random walk, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, seigniorage, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spice trade, stocks for the long run, structural adjustment programs, technology bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, undersea cable, value at risk, Washington Consensus, Yom Kippur War

Meriwether himself, born in 1947, ruefully observed: ‘If I had lived through the Depression, I would have been in a better position to understand events.’100 To put it bluntly, the Nobel prize winners had known plenty of mathematics, but not enough history. They had understood the beautiful theory of Planet Finance, but overlooked the messy past of Planet Earth. And that, put very simply, was why Long-Term Capital Management ended up being Short-Term Capital Mismanagement. It might be assumed that after the catastrophic failure of LTCM, quantitative hedge funds would have vanished from the financial scene. After all, the failure, though spectacular in scale, was far from anomalous. Of 1,308 hedge funds that were formed between 1989 and 1996, more than a third (36.7 per cent) had ceased to exist by the end of the period. In that period the average life span of a hedge fund was just forty months.101 Yet the very reverse has happened. Far from declining, in the past ten years hedge funds of every type have exploded in number and in the volume of assets they manage.


pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, basic income, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social intelligence, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

(Investors, some shaken by the recession, were reportedly leery of putting their money in such novel investment funds.) Most hedge funds looking at social-media data seem to be taking this kind of approach, buying packages of analysis from third-party firms. As the proverb about the California gold rush goes, it often pays more to sell the shovels than to use them to dig. But at least twelve quantitative hedge funds pay a firm called Gnip to pipe all of the over 500 million or so tweets produced each day directly into their platforms. Sentiment analysis is a perfect product for a tech industry awash in data and searching for ways to make money off it. It’s but another way in which the behaviors, actions, identities, and feelings of Internet users are being bought and sold, often without their knowledge, and put toward uncertain ends.


pages: 741 words: 199,502

Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class by Charles Murray

23andMe, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asperger Syndrome, assortative mating, basic income, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, feminist movement, glass ceiling, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, Kenneth Arrow, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, p-value, phenotype, publication bias, quantitative hedge fund, randomized controlled trial, replication crisis, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, school vouchers, Scientific racism, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, social intelligence, statistical model, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, twin studies, universal basic income, working-age population

The social consequences of this seemingly small disparity can be great. In a population of 250 million adults—roughly the number of Americans ages 20 and older—the top 0.1 percent amounts to 250,000 people. Think about the 250,000 people with the nation’s highest visuospatial and math skills. They constitute some substantial proportion of the top programmers and hardware designers in Silicon Valley, the staffs of quantitative hedge funds, and the nation’s most eminent mathematicians, physicists, chemists, biologists, and engineers. Apply the same logic to other fields requiring different abilities—the 250,000 most gifted attorneys, the 250,000 most gifted managers, the 250,000 most gifted in the performing arts. America is far from having tapped the talents of all 250,000 of the most gifted in any field, but it is probable that a large proportion of the most important accomplishments in all fields are done by those who are in the top 0.1 percent, three standard deviations above the mean.