Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Will Be At 2008/Web Service Conference in NYC

I will be on a panel at the 2008 Web Services/SOA on Wall Street show on Monday, February 11th.

The panel starts at 11:00 AM, and goes for about 45-50 minutes. Topics of interest are the increasing use of blogs, Wikis, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc on Wall Street.

Warning: Since I grew up on the tough streets of Jamaica, Queens, be warned that, if you throw tomatoes at me, you do so at your own risk.

Here is a blurb about the panel:

Beyond Web 2.0...What Enterprise 2.0 Is...And What It Means For Wall Street

Beyond Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 is about deploying these new technologies and social practices in a corporate business context.

This session will explore the drivers pushing Enterprise 2.0 adoption, survey relevant technologies, and discuss how Wall Street and the financial markets are benefitting.

Tom Steinthal, Managing Director, Financial Services, BSG Alliance (Moderator)
Marc Adler, Senior Vice President, Equities and Head of Complex Event Processing, Citigroup
Michael Ogrinz, Principal Architect for Global Markets, Bank of America
Jonathan Rochelle, Senior Product Manager, Google
Jason Wood, Head of Research, RT Capital Management and Enterprise IT Blogger

©2008 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, January 20, 2008

KDB Consulting Redux

I have gotten some private emails from people over the past few weeks who have been intrigued about my posts about KDB+, and wanting to know how to be a KDB+ consultant. It may be easier to apply to medical school and become a heart surgeon than it is to bootstrap yourself in a KDB consulting career.

I certainly do not hold myself out as a career counselor. You should not look to me as the key to future riches. All I do is observe the marketplace. I deal alot in hiring people for our own needs, and I get a lot of calls from recruiters. I have a lot of colleagues on Wall Street and in The City. So I am able to gather a lot of different data points, some of which I share on this blog.

Google everything you can about KDB+. Apply to KX Systems for access to the coding areas. Grab a copy of "Q for Mortals" by Jeff Borror. Find the pockets of KDB people in your company and get them to explain their source code for you.

If you have gotten this far....

You will need to get a copy of KDB+, which is not easy to get. Most likely, you cannot go onto LimeWire or Kazaa and find a copy of KDB floating around. Even if you did, you need to find a license key.

You need to go here, and think about how you will convince Niall Dalton or Simon Garland to let you play around with KDB. Or, wait for the next SIFMA conference, find the KDB booth, and offer to take the KDB guys to the lounge at the Hilton. Or, come up with a product that might compliment KDB (like Panopticon did) and try to show Simon that it will increase the popularity of KDB. Maybe an English-to-Q translator? Maybe a true ODBC driver for KDB? Maybe a Q code obsfuscator?

Another avenue is try to approach First Derivatives. They are the primary partner for KX Systems, and the Yin to KX Systems' Yang. Hint .. they love Guiness.

Lest you think that I am picking on KDB ... the same thing can apply to any niche product. I suppose that you would not be able to wake up one day and decide that you will be a Vhayu consultant. In order to specialize in any kind of niche product, you need to leverage the existing resources for that product. This is one of the advantages of being employees of large financial firms or large consulting firms that specialize in financial services.

You need to get yourself into the proper mindset to deal with KDB. It is a very spartan product, hand-tuned and lightning fast at processing real-time flows of tick and order data. The actual Q.exe engine is about a 150K file. You do not get any of the nice, cushy bloat that you have with something like SQL Server and Oracle. Working with KDB brings you back to the days when you were writing DOS TSRs using good old INT 21H (for those of you born after 1980, a TSR is a Terminate and Stay Resident program .... and DOS was an ancient operating system that made Microsoft lots of money).

As if you are not convinced already .... the following code is from a Q file called holiday.q. Once you understand this code, send email to Niall or Simon of KX Systems, or to the people at First Derivatives, and show them that you can write this stuff without even looking (and this is mild ... wait until you get into the juicy stuff).


r:{y-x*y div x}

/adjust sat/sun

/goto dayofweek

/good friday(1900-2099)

/nyse holidays

nyse@/:\:2007 2008

©2008 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved

Saturday, January 19, 2008

.NET Developer Wanted (No Consultants)

A colleague of mine will shortly be looking to hire a great .NET developer as a full-time employee. I am putting out this job req for them, in case you know anyone who is looking to make a switch in the next few weeks. This is a good group to work. The manager is very technical, and gives the developers a chance to play with the latest technology.

Please send all responses and resumes to me, and I will pass it on to him.

.NET Developer

We are seeking highly motivated candidates to create and deliver technology solutions and support for the XXXX business area. The new hire will join a “ground floor” opportunity, working with business clients, offering creative solutions to their needs, and implementing them.

The current technical platform includes C#/.NET, WinForms, ASP.NET, SQL Server 2005, Microsoft Business
Intelligence (Integration, Reporting, & Analysis Services), SharePoint, and Visual C++. A “Road Map” outlining a series of potential projects has recently been presented to senior business clients and has been well-received – the door is wide open for Technology to create the IT Work Slate for 2008, deliver on these commitments, and make a large positive impact on the XXXXX business’ bottom line revenue.

Job Responsibilities include:

  • Key development on critical .NET-based projects

  • Working on all aspects of these projects, including front end work in WinForms and ASP.NET as well as backend database work in SQL Server 2005

  • Support and minor enhancements of the existing Visual C++ application until the new product is fully launched

  • Balancing fast time to market (client delivery) with proper Governance, Compliance, and Audit mandates

  • Fostering close relationships with other teams in XXXX Technology and throughout the Technology organization

Required Skills:
  • Strong C#/.NET development skills

  • Experience with data-driven .NET projects

  • Comfortable with data binding techniques in ASP.Net

  • Comfortable with data binding techniques in WinForms

  • Experience or interest in Agile development (Scrum, XP, etc)

  • Strong team player, collaborative

  • Persistence - ability to get things done

  • Worked in an investment banking environment

Preferred Skills:
  • MS SQL Server 2005

  • Familiarity with Visual C++ a plus

  • Interest and ability to work with new technologies - Powershell, WPF*, WCF

Friday, January 18, 2008

Colin Clark is with Streambase - Where's my Finder's Fee?

A few week ago, this blog mentioned the news that Colin disbanded Kaskad, and was looking for new opportunities. I also proposed that Streambase hire Colin and some of his gang, as they were all in the Boston area together.

Lo and behold, Colin is now with Streambase.

An example of the wonders of the blogging network in action!

Also interesting that Bill Harts is on the Streambase Advisory Board. When I was consulting with Goldman in the late 1980's, I was friendly with Bill, as our groups interacted. I actually interviewed with Bill and Mike Dubnow for a job in Fischer Black's group, but mercifully, they spared me the pain of having to try to understand the world of the Quants (leaving me the opportunity to go full-time into Magma Systems after I left Goldman). Emmanuel Derman has written extensively about the goings-on in Black's little world.

Mike Dubnow eventually became the first Managing Director from the tech side at Goldman, and has since retired. I think that Mike was one of the creators of the SLANG language at Goldman.

On Wall Street, we have an incestuous little circle.

IDE for KDB+ Development


Eclipse plugins for Q development

©2008 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

When will they ever learn?

Sigh .... When will the guys at Streambase learn that dubious marketing may overshadow what seems to be a really good product .....

©2008 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved

Monday, January 14, 2008

NYSE Buys Wombat

A friend of mine at one of the NYSE-owned companies jokingly warned me last week that, today, there would be an announcement that would knock my socks off.

I wasn't prepared for the onslaught of emails that I started receiving around 9:00 AM, announcing the acquisition of Wombat by the NYSE. The guys from Wombat, who sit in the next row from me on the trading floor, gave me a look like "What? Who me?", while secretly counting their new-found riches under the table.

My only concern about this deal is a possible conflict-of-interest that might arise when a supposedly "exchange-neutral" information provider gets bought out by one of the exchanges that it is supposed to deal with. Conspiracy theorists might have a field day when there seems to be abnormal latency with a non-NYE exchange.

As far as CEP goes, my thought is .... would Coral8 be on the acquisition block next, seeing how closely they cooperate with Wombat and seeing how Reuters is aligning themselves with Streambase?

©2008 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Erin Erring

Who let Erin Burnett out of the cage to write this article?

Liz Claman was always my favorite CNBC anchor. Sorbonne graduate. Fluent in French. Flaming red hair. Unfortunately, Liz made the jump over to the Fox Business Channel, which I will refuse to watch unless they have Peter Griffin delivering the financial reports.

You would think that CNBC would have learned its lessons after the hubbub over Maria Bartiromo. They should stick with the really solid reporters who have financial domain knowledge, such as Joe Kernan and David Faber. Let's also get Emmanuel Derman in there as a reporter.

©2007 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved


There has been a lot of activity in the CEP blogs about the uses of that mythical beast, the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). This beast means different things to different people. From my standpoint, let me tell you what it means to me, and let me tell you what I need.

For my company, the possible adoption of CEP will mean a huge seed-change in the way that we develop applications and share information. Right now, we have the most important information in the trading and risk process going directly into huge, monolithic Gui's. Important order and risk information is being sucked into a GUI application, much like a vacuum cleaner sucks up a trail of dust.

Already, the CEP effort has been able to transform the order-monitoring GUI into an Order Service, publishing order information to subscribers over a message bus. If the CEP project is a total bust, then at least the one tangible is the liberation of order flow information.

As all of the important data --- orders, risk, positions --- gets published out by the source systems and gets consumed by other applications, we need to have a global catalog that developers can browse where they can find out how to access data and what operations can be performed on the data.

For example, if I needed to get a real-time flow of Greeks for certain vanilla US equity derivatives, I might use the catalog to ask a question like this:

"Where can I find real time flows of greeks for IBM, INTC, MSFT, and DELL options? I prefer to have this flow come through as XML, but if no XML is available, then give the data to me in any format. In addition, I need to know if you have a remote function that I can call that calculates theta on a certain security."

The catalog service might respond:

"You can get the US Equity Deriv Greek flows by subscribing to a Tibco EMS message bus. You need to subscribe to the Tibco broker at tcp://megacorpbroker:7001, using functional ID "foo" and password "baz". This service is publishing out each greek as a JMS MessageMap on the EMS topic, and here is a list of properties that you can access in each message. Sorry, but we don't support XML.

Furthermore, here are a list of request/response operations that the Greeks Web Service supports. If you want to generate the proxy code to use these operations, the URL of the WSDL for the Greeks Web Service is at http://greekserver:8042/webservice.wsdl.

As an added bonus, if you send this XML string as a JMS TextMessage in the following format to this the EMS queue named, then you will get a response on your private EMS temporary queue."

This is like a super-charged UDDI, but knows about things like message buses and JMS queues and topics. For me, this is what we need out of SOA. Everyone publishing and consuming real-time flows. Everyone making services available, both as Web Services and as request/responses over a message bus.

The catalog should be real-time itself. In other words, if a new flow or a new service becomes available, the catalog itself should notify listeners that something has changed. So, all applications might subscribe to a "catalog control" topic where real-time changes to the catalog services are broadcast.

Imagine now that we have a GUI in which users can pick and choose from various flows, dynamically create queries that will be registered with the CEP engine, and dynamically define derived events that will be created when the queries detect a situation. Most of the CEP engines support an API which makes this possible.

Should we write this SOA catalog ourselves? Can you recommend a product that already does this?

©2007 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 04, 2008

I Hate Vista

Slow, cumbersome, intrusive.

Nuff said....

©2007 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved