High Tech Tasks at World’s Greatest Banks, Hedge Funds, and PE Companies

Rewriting a cornerstone of Man Group’s knowledge platform with a supercharged C++ engine

Gary Collier, CTO of Alpha Technology at Man Group

Gary Collier.

Man Group


Agency: Man Group

Venture: Upgrading Man Group’s data-science engine to tackle huge quantities of information 

Lead govt: Gary Collier, the chief know-how officer of Alpha Expertise at Man Group

Knowledge is the lifeblood of any funding agency. And at Man Group — one of many largest listed hedge funds, with $142 billion in property underneath administration — it is all about wrangling knowledge at scale.

That is what prompted the agency to construct Arctic, a Python-centric data-science system that Man Group’s funding analysts use to generate alpha, carry out danger analytics, and gasoline machine-learning purposes. The system was made open supply in 2015 and has over 1 million downloads thus far, based on Collier.

“Every day we routinely course of billions of information factors and the energy and adaptability of our platform permits us to supply 9,500 GB of cleaned place, danger, commerce, and market knowledge to energy our enterprise,” Collier, who oversees know-how utilized by funding managers, advised Insider by way of electronic mail. A key part of Arctic is that it interfaces seamlessly with Python, a coding language broadly utilized in monetary providers, because it was designed to function a pure extension to the Python stack Man Group groups makes use of each day.

“When coping with knowledge related to modelling monetary markets, no matter its preliminary kind and form — numeric, textual content, imagery — in a short time you end up working with knowledge frames of information. In essence, very massive matrices,” Collier stated. “Arctic supplies the flexibility to retailer, question, and manipulate knowledge frames on the industrial scale required — assume doubtlessly billions of rows and lots of of hundreds of columns.”

On the finish of 2017, Man Group launched into a ground-up rewrite of Arctic to “guarantee it’s prepared for the following technology of information challenges our business faces.” Arctic advanced into ArcticDB, which accommodates the identical user-friendly Python interface, but in addition a supercharged C++ engine. That engine supplies orders-of-magnitude enchancment within the scale of information the system can deal with, how briskly queries are fetched, and the way effectively the info is saved.

“A concrete instance of that is Arctic making it trivial to take care of ultra-wide knowledge frames, comparable to 400,000-column knowledge body representing a big company bond universe,” Collier stated. “Arctic is coping with a lot of these knowledge challenges proper now, and in manufacturing.”

ArcticDB now manages lots of of terabytes of information throughout analysis and manufacturing, Collier added. And whereas the rewrite began in 2017, it is nonetheless underneath lively improvement, with Man Group including capabilities to optimize efficiency and effectivity.

“It is typically extra helpful to consider transformational know-how initiatives as ‘wavefronts of change,’ versus binary begin, implement, cease initiatives,” Collier stated.

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