The Cross Section of Technology and Finance
Being at the forefront of quantitative finance presents many unique challenges. The key technological problems lie in storing overwhelming amounts of data, processing that data quickly, and being agile in an extremely dynamic industry.
We must accumulate, aggregate, and analyze data from many disparate, geographically-distributed sources. Furthermore, the quantity of data flow is growing at tremendous rates. We aggregate and normalize over hundreds of GB daily. This is both a function of Athena expanding into new markets, as well as the tremendous growth of electronic trading in existing markets.
Speed is critical to real-time trading. With so much data and so many ways to use it, we constantly strive to find solutions to move and process data faster. The obvious tactic of throwing money at the problem – buying fast connections and powerful computers – will only get us so far. We have achieved excellent performance using clusters of computers working together in concert powered by well-designed software.
The quantitative financial industry is ever-changing. Even in the last two years have seen major shifts in the key players and their technology platforms. Similarly, many new trading opportunities have arisen. In order to remain competitive, we must design our systems to be flexible and agile. The ability to research new ideas and adapt to changing environments is critical to our success. .
In order to enhance our agility and service our diverse technological needs, Athena Capital Research heavily leverages open source software. Furthermore, we are true participants in the free/open-source software ecosystem, placing a premium on giving back to open source projects both financially and technically. If we discover issues, fix bugs, or create enhancements to a piece of software, we share this information with that project’s community.
Athena Capital Research publishes these modifications although it is not a requirement of the software licenses. This attitude is contrary to the pervasive secrecy of the quantitative finance industry. We truly believe in the participation culture of the open source community.
Of course, we get a warm fuzzy feeling from all of this. On a more pragmatic level, however, the business case is there and it has been proven to us time and again that open collaboration is synergistic—we get more out than we put in.
Check out our recent donation to NumFocus
Projects we actively contribute to (with either code or cash):
• scythe matrix library
Debian packages we maintain or sponsor:
• Google sparsehash
• Threading Building Blocks
• Flam3 and Electric Sheep
Athena Open Source Projects:
• RubyLuaBridge—a seamless bridge between Ruby and Lua
Athena Capital Research annually donates a percentage of our profits to organizations whose technologies are imperative to our operations. Past beneficiaries include:
• Software In The Public Interest (Debian)
• Free Software Foundation (FSF / GNU)