Learn to be a Quant — Quantitative Finance for Futures Trading Algorithms
Note: this article points to the Legacy Version of Quantiacs. Please check more recent material on the new version of Quantiacs: get started, simple bitcoin algorithm, machine learning example and optimizer.
Empowering students to design quantitative trading algorithms and alternative investment strategies.
By Antony Jackson, Assistant Professor in Financial Economics at the University of East Anglia
The disruption is happening. Quantiacs has been running successful trading competitions for 2 years, and starting last November outside investors have made their first allocations. I want to share with you my plans for developing an exciting quant finance course aimed at undergraduates — an interactive course that will incorporate Quantiacs’ new web-based simulator, Quantinator in order to teach quantitative finance and algorithmic trading fundamentals to college students who don’t necessarily have any programming or computer science knowledge.
Quantinator is free and open-source, to give it a try, follow these steps:
I should begin by first giving you some background info about myself. My name is Dr. Antony Jackson. I’m a Lecturer in Financial Economics in the School of Economics at the University of East Anglia in the UK. I am an active Quantiacs community member and I placed 2nd in the Q4 competition, and recently received one of the first allocations from institutional investors on the marketplace. My Quantiacs algorithms are now managing a futures portfolio worth $2M and I’m receiving a check from them every quarter for 10% of the profits.
I’ve experienced the highs and lows of trading success and failure, and I think I’ve learnt a few lessons about quantitative trading that you can’t find in textbooks!
Some of my pre-conceptions have been shattered. My most successful systems (with the longest track records) are based on AI techniques — techniques I was skeptical about before giving them a try. I’m talking, of course, about neural networks, which — like AI in general — are back in fashion. I write my own models, but ask the computer to stage tournaments between strategies that I leave it to design. The best models ‘survive’ and become candidates for live trading.
But most of all, I’ve become more and more excited about the potential of using web-based tools like Quantinator in the classroom. So much so that I’m currently developing a new module for final undergraduates with the title Alternative Investments. 75 students have signed up so far, and I’m busy designing what I hope will be a great interactive learning experience.
Quantinator is a web-based tool that currently offers two language options: Matlab and Python. Python’s a great language to learn quant finance for the first time, and in my opinion Quantiacs has struck just the right balance between speed and analytical power, and offer free features that no other software provides. I especially like how it allows for rapid portfolio design. Before writing any code, the user can select which individual contracts he or she wishes to trade, and there’s also an option to select which time period to include in the backtest. As well as writing their own algos, students can choose from a menu of off-the-shelf strategies, which includes an implementation of a CTA-style trend-following system. This is a great way to encourage and accelerate learning for student quants.
Pretty exciting stuff! The first cohort take my Alternative Investments course in January 2018. Leave me a comment below if you’re interested and I’ll let you know how they get on!
Quantinator lets anyone design and optimize their own quantitative trading algorithms in the cloud and submit it to the Quantiacs marketplace — no programming skills required.
Quantinator is a free algorithm building tool that is accessible via web browser and mobile devices. Quantinator provides an intuitive UI, sample trading algorithms, an optimization functionality, and tools to analyze the backtesting results.
Once a trading program is built it can be submitted to Quantiacs’ marketplace where it gets thoroughly tested on live market data and becomes available to institutional investors.
Quantinator features include:
· New, fast, and intuitive cloud-based algorithm builder
· Free to use with potential to earn money in the algo marketplace
· Build and run your first trading algorithm in less than 2 minutes
· Learn from sample training algorithms
· Analyze the results in a visual and interactive web portal
· Easily optimize parameters of trading algorithms visually
· Build a trading algorithm from your cellphone, no programming required
· Submit your trading algorithms directly to Quantiacs marketplace
It’s as simple as the 3 steps below: