Nerds on Wall Street: Math, Machines, and Wired Markets

Overview

An intriguing look at how technology is changing financial markets, from an innovator on the frontlines of this revolution

Nerds on Wall Street tells the tale of the ongoing technological transformation of the world's financial markets. The impact of technology on investing is profound, and author David Leinweber provides readers with an overview of where we were just a few short years ago, and where we are going. Being a successful investor today and tomorrow?individual or ...

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Overview

An intriguing look at how technology is changing financial markets, from an innovator on the frontlines of this revolution

Nerds on Wall Street tells the tale of the ongoing technological transformation of the world's financial markets. The impact of technology on investing is profound, and author David Leinweber provides readers with an overview of where we were just a few short years ago, and where we are going. Being a successful investor today and tomorrow—individual or institutional—involves more than stock picking, asset allocation, or market timing: it involves technology. And Leinweber helps readers go beyond the numbers to see exactly how this technology has become more responsible for managing modern markets. In essence, the financial game has changed and will continue to change due entirely to technology. The new "players," human or otherwise, offer investors opportunities and dangers. With this intriguing and entertaining book, Leinweber shows where technology on Wall Street has been, what it has meant, and how it will impact the markets of tomorrow.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Nerds On Wall Street

"Leinweber leads his readers through a largely unexplored forest, turning over ordinary-looking rocks to reveal hidden colonies of peculiar creatures that feed on moldering mounds of numbers teeming with trailing zeroes. His book is absorbing, instructive, and very, very funny."
David Shaw, Founder, D. E. Shaw & Co.

"David Leinweber has been a pioneer in developing and applying advanced technologies in the capital markets. This book is a virtual tour de force survey of many of the key innovations over the past two decades, with key insights for the future. It is a highly engaging, insightful, and entertaining book for all investors who want to understand the increasingly important role of technology in the financial markets."
Blake Grossman, CEO, Barclays Global Investors

"Leinweber isn't half as crazy as people said! He foresaw the profound change that wired technology would bring to markets (robots trading millions of shares in six milliseconds). Now he nails the Stupid Financial Engineering Tricks that dumped the markets, and offers his patented, sound insights on how the nerds will help bring us back."
Jane Bryant Quinn, Financial columnist, Bloomberg.com and Newsweek

"Through the lenses of finance 'nerds,' Dave Leinweber recounts the quantitative and technological revolution in equity trading. The book is humorously written but it is serious and insightful. It makes an important contribution to our understanding of financial innovation and the evolution of the capital markets."
Andre F. Perold, George Gund Professor of Finance and Banking, Harvard Business School

"Finally, a book that rightly honors the pocket-protected, RPN-loving, object-oriented, C-compatible, self-similar Wall Street quant! This is a delightfully entertaining romp across the trading floors and through the research departments of major financial institutions, told by one of the early architects of automated trading and a self-made nerd."
Andrew W. Lo, Professor of Finance, MIT Sloan School of Management

"David Leinweber is one of the great financial innovators of our time. David possesses a unique combination of expertise in the fields of money management, artificial intelligence, and computer science."
Blair Hull, Founder, Hull Trading & Matlock Trading

"An important, accessible, and humorous guide to today's electronic markets. Like Capital Ideas mixed with Being Digital, as told by Steve Martin."
Frank Fabozzi, Yale School of Management, Editor, Journal of Portfolio Management

"Slicing and dicing data to predict the future can get dicey. The Super Bowl market indicator holds that stocks will do well after a team from the old National Football League wins the Super Bowl. . . The "Sell in May and go away" rule advises investors to get out of the market after April and get back in after October. . . hundreds — of Web sites hawk "proprietary trading tools" and analytical "models" . . . There is no end to such rules. But there isn't much sense to most of them either. An entertaining new book, "Nerds on Wall Street," by the veteran quantitative money manager David Leinweber, dissects the shoddy thinking that underlies most of these techniques."
Jason Zweig, The Wall Street Journal

"One of the best reads that I have picked up in some time. It stimulated me about things in the market that I didn't know.... A wonderful book"
Vince Rowe Radium, Biz Radio

"Where technology will take investing and trading in the future is anyone's guess. Yet, David J. Leinweber in his newly published book, "Nerds on Wall Street: Math, Machines and Wired Markets," provides a glimpse of the direction. In his lively — alternately raucous and reverent, deriding and respectful — Mr. Leinweber recounts the history of how technology has transformed investing and trading through the people that developed ideas and pioneered applications, most famously in indexing, optimization and quantitative investing. . . The book makes one of the best reads of the summer — suitable for the beach as well as for a serious reader in suit and tie at the office."
—Pensions & Investments

“Explains complex financial instruments in relatively simple terms, and the same goes for complex trading techniques. . . The average reader will learn a lot here. I recommend the book to those that want to dig into how the equity markets became more computerized.
— Seeking Alpha

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471369462
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/9/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 353
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

David Leinweber is a Haas Fellow in Finance at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, and founding Director of the Center for Innovative Financial Technology at Berkeley. He is the founder of two pioneering financial technology firms and successfully managed multibillion-dollar institutional portfolios for many years. Dr. Leinweber has consulted, published, and lectured widely on the use of advanced technology, artificial intelligence, and intelligence amplification in finance-always in an easy and accessible way-and has earned the reputation as "class clown of the quantitative investing industry." He received BS degrees in physics and electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD in applied mathematics from Harvard University.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Ted Aronson.

Acknowledgments.

Introduction.

Part One 1: Wired Markets.

Chapter 1: An Illustrated History of Wired Markets.

Chapter 2: Greatest Hits of Computation in Finance.

Chapter 3: Algorithm Wars.

Part Two: Alpha as Life.

Chapter 4: Where Does Alpha Come From?

Chapter 5: A Gentle Introduction to Computerized Investing.

Chapter 6: Stupid Data Miner Tricks.

Part Three: Artificial Intelligence and Intelligence Amplification.

Chapter 7: A Little AI Goes a Long Way on Wall Street.

Chapter 8: Perils and Promise of Evolutionary Computation on Wall Street.

Chapter 9: The Text Frontier: AI, IA, and the New Research.

Chapter 10: Collective Intelligence, Social Media, and Web Market Monitors.

Chapter 11: Three Hundred Years of Stock Market Manipulations: From the Coffeehouse to the World Wide Web.

Part Four:  Nerds Gone Wild: Wired Markets in Distress.

Chapter 12: Shooting the Moon: Stupid Financial Technology Tricks.

Chapter 13: Structural Ideas for the Economic Rescue: Fractional Homes and New Banks.

Chapter 14: Nerds Gone Green: Nerds on Wall Street, off Wall Street.

Index.

About the Web Site.

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