Automated Trading Answers

Discussion in 'Trading' started by Christian Blais, Dec 8, 2009.

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  1. Hi,

    my name is Christian and I have been monitoring the ET forums for a while but never really felt the need to post.

    I am Director of development for Centauris, we specialize in automated trading, mostly through custom blackboxes.

    I thought I'd ask people here if they have any questions they would like answered about auto-trading, APIs, programming languages, platforms, etc...

    I cannot say I have all the answers but doing this kind of software development for years does tend to give quite a few insights into the business. IB and ToS seem popular on these forums and we do work with both quite a bit. We do Forex, Equities and Futures mostly.

    You might wonder why I am doing this and maybe even fear conflicts of interests in my answers. I have two main reasons for posting here. One is potential publicity I have to admit. The other is that I have been wishing to create a series of articles about automated trading for a while and did not know what to begin with. I thought posting here and knowing what questions people have would gear me towards the best article subjects which I can then feature on the Centauris website after giving short or long answers on ET.

    Let me know your questions and I will try to come up with decent answers. This might be a good time to dig up unanswered questions from old threads.
  2. jalee25


    Hi Christian,

    I am just curious to what works out there. With my background, I have done discretionary trading and do have some programming background. I am interested in starting to look more at automated systems trading.

    I am glad that I came across your thread. Thanks for posting. I heard a bit about the popularity of software like IB and Tradestation. I was wondering what you use. Also, do you trade long/short term and what kind of equity do you trade. Cheers!
  3. Hi,

    actually Centauris mostly does the consulting for traders with programming needs. We have rarely been directly involved in trading systems although we do get to test many many live systems and help in the translation process from trading ideas to functional software.

    I wouldn't break the secret on any of the systems that we know to work but here is what I can say.

    IB is a pretty good platform overall. Not the best in anything but not the worst in anything either. The list of platforms out there is incredibly long but a few interesting ones are also ThinkOrSwim, Genesis, Trading Technologies,...

    I would stay away mostly from TradeStation as it is quite a dinosaur. Other similar all-in-one platforms usually are good for prototyping but not for high-frequency strategies. Ninja Trader is an other example of poorly executed software although many people use it and even have success with it. I can understand why they are this way but it does not make them any more suitable in many cases.

    Most Forex-only brokers have very very poor APIs. It shows the lack of seriousness of the entire industry pretty well. Most do work, but I wouldnt give them any more credit than that. It can be sufficient under very precise conditions. We have done some very good software with some of these but the amount of work involved was simply disproportionate considering the simplicity of Forex trading.

    In regards to what works in terms of strategies, my own experience shows that no big gains come from technical indicators alone. No matter how much effort you put into backtestings, if you find a group of indicators that give good results in your backtests, you probably are curve-fitting data without realizing it. Some people can make a living out of those Moving averages and RSI and MFI and Bollinger Bands, but on their own they hardly represent any trading potential. I think you need to be observant and creative towards what happens globally and microscopically in the markets and find a middle ground that will give you an edge.
  4. Hi,

    What software have you found to be the most optimal for developing real time trading GUIs (C++, for ex?). Do you just stick to one particular language for your entire development? How about simple prototyping/backtesting?

    I see you use AI. What particular areas of AI have you personally found to be useful?

    Also, why are there no 'about us' backgrounds on your website?

  5. Your programs I am guessing are made to be holding for a very short period of time (black boxes)? Is that what black boxes mainly implies? Something like the roll of a liquidity provider?

  6. NoDoji


    Christian, in your experience which intraday automated systems produce the most reliable profits (assuming they're designed well): trend-following, counter-trend, or breakouts?
  7. I am aware of automated trading system and have an extremely basic understanding of them.

    I've always been curious (I'm sure this is a stupid question) is the main idea of a black box system to backtest indicator combinations and them trade them off those rules in the future (i.e. go long when MA "X" crosses MA "Y" if MACD has crossed the 0 line)?

    Or perhaps is that ^ the foundation and then a programmer would add in a propoetary rule such as "after the cross if the next bar's high is "X" amount greater than the average of the previous 5 bar's highs than a long trade would be executed", to use a totally random example?

    Or are most real world auto trading programs stricly based off price action algorithms and propietary indicators?

    Basiclly I'm just wondering if in your view most real-world live programs are (not to sound demeaning) a giant puzzle of altering overlapped indicators to get profit over time (based on the past) or if most of them are all propietary algorithms based of price action and/or volume or if its a combination.

    Like everything in life, I'm sure the answer is all the above (if im not a complete moron) but which approach do you feel is most appropriate and/or most common in real-world programs & hedgefunds who actually move millions of dollars through these things?

    I hope that made a little bit of sense, thanks in advance to everyone who replies
  8. I want to get started with automated trading. What are the top 5 books you would recommend so I can speak knowledgeably with you if I wanted to retain your services? Assume I am intelligent, but an inexperienced trader.
  9. Violate Terms of Service. Please stop doing this, sponsors pay dearly for this service. You want to post, leave out your business interests...
  10. Where's the "problem" with his post? Better someone experienced in systems & platforms in an intelligent discussion than a hundred wannabe jokers with useless talk.

    #10     Dec 8, 2009
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