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Amateurs vs professionals

 I've always wondered how much room there was for a clever amateur to profit in this space, even as it's crowded with much more sophisticated professionals with much more sophisticated algorithms and machines.

I'm thinking back to Garry Kasparov's piece in the NY Book Review a couple years back:http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/feb/11/the-che.

He talks about a chess tournament in which it was "anything goes"...competitors could be human, computers, or humans with computers. The expected outcome was that a grandmaster using a Deep Blue-like computer would win, but the winners ended up being a couple of amateurs with three computers:

The surprise came at the conclusion of the event. The winner was revealed to be not a grandmaster with a state-of-the-art PC but a pair of amateur American chess players using three computers at the same time. Their skill at manipulating and “coaching” their computers to look very deeply into positions effectively counteracted the superior chess understanding of their grandmaster opponents and the greater computational power of other participants. Weak human + machine + better process was superior to a strong computer alone and, more remarkably, superior to a strong human + machine + inferior process.

So in HFT, how much room is there for an amateur to profit over professionals by having a sophisticated process?

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