SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

 
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ArthurDent
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September 6th, 2012, 11:40 pm

Are quants menial laborers, tolerated in the West only because off the lack of mathematically or scientifically inclined locals?Quote from Link:QuoteThe argument stopper was Lippmann's one-man quantitative support team. His name was Eugene Xu but to those who had heard Lippmann's pitch, he was generally spoken of as "Lippmann's Chinese quant." Xu was an analyst employed by Deutsche Bank, but Lippmann gave everyone the idea he kept him tied up to his Bloomberg terminal like a pet. A real Chinese guy - not even Chinese American - who apparently spoke no English, just numbers. China had this Math competition, Lippmann told people, in which Eugene had finished second. In all of China. Eugene Xu was responsible for every piece of hard data in Lippmann's presentation. Once Eugene was introduced into the equation, no one bothered Lippmann about his math or his data. As Lippmann put it, "How can a man who can't speak English lie?"Highlight mine.
 
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Hansi
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September 7th, 2012, 4:54 am

Typical Michael Lewis exaggeration.
 
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Cuchulainn
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September 7th, 2012, 7:44 am

always with them negative waves, Moriarity
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Gamal
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September 7th, 2012, 8:20 am

Quants should speak English but not necessarilly developers. Several times I had developers hardly speaking English, they had no excuse to do anthing else than coding.
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Cuchulainn
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September 7th, 2012, 8:36 am

(double)
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Cuchulainn
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September 7th, 2012, 8:56 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: GamalQuants should speak English but not necessarilly developers. Several times I had developers hardly speaking English, they had no excuse to do anthing else than coding.Crazy. It's a lack of realisation of the reality. Is this a CMM organisation level 0? The error is not realising the importance of software. I attribute it (partially) to the fact that physicists (aka quants?) in their studies do not get a proper grounding in software design/'experience' in general, resulting in a number of undesirable consequences. The ideal all-round developer knows finance, maths and C++ and such personages do exist.Imagine a developer who cannot speak English writing code for medical equipment? The IT has been deskilled. Or as Dijkstra stated 'dumbed down'.This is the kind of code that you see a lot ! It's a sample and it looks like the code at the back of PhD thesis.for (int j = 0; j < 10000; j++){if (j == 0) a = 1;b = j *aif (b < 0){ //...}else if (b > 0){ // ...}else{ // ...}// etc.}
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September 7th, 2012, 9:04 am

A good book IMO if you are serious about s/w
 
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EscapeArtist999
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September 7th, 2012, 9:39 am

Cuch,I think the issues are such:1. In finance the software is a tool, not the product - so few in finance really want to be working on it. A few people do like it, and are nonplussed about being at the bottom of the food chain.2. It's a large corporate environment, with software projects nobody really feels ownership for hence - no real passion.3. Because in the USA and UK anything that involves dirty work (programming, anything technical) is less glamorous and less well rewarded than managment (ordering people about) - it's primarily desperate foreigners (who yes in mny cases are getting a better deal than in their home country) who do this work.This is why anything technical is viewed as menial labour in the west.There is of course a large exception - startups. And yes here it'll be a leaner development team, people do feel lilke they have ownership (and often do through substantial startup sweat equity) and for that matter often find themselves trying to solve a social problem (sharing photos, smarter search based in ind prefs, different kinds of social networking, iphone apps, iphone video games, online advertising) and need to have some knowledge of cul;ture - this is where you see a higher percentage of locals than foreigners. The other issue being of course that foreigners need salaries to pay rent (mum's basement is in uzbekistan after all) and often salaried jobs for visas - my views on this are well known, so I will not further comment on whether this is fair or not - as DA or NG would say, it's just the real world.Another problem is that most people will accept crappy soiftware if it's cheap/free as opposed to paying more (maybe significantly more) for high quality - hence little investment in developers, and high investment in marketingYour example of medical software is an interesting one - perhaps there is some excess liability the co has (i.e. for misdiagnosis) - or maybe docs also accept crappy software.Anyway, could go on, but I'll stop there.
 
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September 7th, 2012, 10:06 am

The real reason is packaged products. You buy off the shelf products from Oracle and big cos and tweak it using men in suits. Suddenly men in suits become more powerful. Where I work any development is frowned upon. Everyone wants to be an architect. They draw boxes in visio, occasionally animate them using powerpoints. You have lines going all over, stacked boxes like there is no tomorrow and then focus on strategy all the time. All this is a product of the past 10 years. It worked well but the party is ending. A lot of projects these days (the good ones) are around mining massive amounts of data. Screw the status aspect of it, but this stuff cannot be commoditized. You need solid programmers to do that. The problem is if you are processing a terabyte scale data using commodity servers on a daily basis, you cannot afford to be inefficient. Ofcourse there is no status in it. But money there is.
 
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EscapeArtist999
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September 7th, 2012, 10:30 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: capafan2The real reason is packaged products. You buy off the shelf products from Oracle and big cos and tweak it using men in suits. Suddenly men in suits become more powerful. Where I work any development is frowned upon. Everyone wants to be an architect. They draw boxes in visio, occasionally animate them using powerpoints. You have lines going all over, stacked boxes like there is no tomorrow and then focus on strategy all the time. All this is a product of the past 10 years. It worked well but the party is ending. A lot of projects these days (the good ones) are around mining massive amounts of data. Screw the status aspect of it, but this stuff cannot be commoditized. You need solid programmers to do that. The problem is if you are processing a terabyte scale data using commodity servers on a daily basis, you cannot afford to be inefficient. Ofcourse there is no status in it. But money there is.But how many positions like this exist Capa?
 
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Gamal
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September 7th, 2012, 10:36 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: CuchulainnImagine a developer who cannot speak English writing code for medical equipment?I know nothing about medical equipment, I was speaking about finance. You will believe it or not but the best developers I ever had, had problems in expressing themselves in English.
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Cuchulainn
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September 7th, 2012, 10:43 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: GamalQuoteOriginally posted by: CuchulainnImagine a developer who cannot speak English writing code for medical equipment?I know nothing about medical equipment, I was speaking about finance. You will believe it or not by the best developers I ever had, had problems in expressing themselves in English.I believe you. I see it quite a lot as well And s/w knowledge (especially C++!!!) is coming from/going to Asia very very very very fast. At this rate... do I need to say it?General remark; just because someone does not speak a language well does not mean they are stupid and language fluency has no relationship with their intelligence level. This fact is often overlooked even in broader society. I reckon I am the only full-time C++ trainer the Netherlands; the others have given up, died off or have discovered Java. Or they became managers.
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ElysianEagle
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September 7th, 2012, 10:50 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: EscapeArtist999Cuch,I think the issues are such:1. In finance the software is a tool, not the product - so few in finance really want to be working on it. A few people do like it, and are nonplussed about being at the bottom of the food chain.2. It's a large corporate environment, with software projects nobody really feels ownership for hence - no real passion.3. Because in the USA and UK anything that involves dirty work (programming, anything technical) is less glamorous and less well rewarded than managment (ordering people about) - it's primarily desperate foreigners (who yes in mny cases are getting a better deal than in their home country) who do this work.This is why anything technical is viewed as menial labour in the west.There is of course a large exception - startups. And yes here it'll be a leaner development team, people do feel lilke they have ownership (and often do through substantial startup sweat equity) and for that matter often find themselves trying to solve a social problem (sharing photos, smarter search based in ind prefs, different kinds of social networking, iphone apps, iphone video games, online advertising) and need to have some knowledge of cul;ture - this is where you see a higher percentage of locals than foreigners. The other issue being of course that foreigners need salaries to pay rent (mum's basement is in uzbekistan after all) and often salaried jobs for visas - my views on this are well known, so I will not further comment on whether this is fair or not - as DA or NG would say, it's just the real world.Another problem is that most people will accept crappy soiftware if it's cheap/free as opposed to paying more (maybe significantly more) for high quality - hence little investment in developers, and high investment in marketingYour example of medical software is an interesting one - perhaps there is some excess liability the co has (i.e. for misdiagnosis) - or maybe docs also accept crappy software.Anyway, could go on, but I'll stop there.i was about to post but then read this, you stole the words outta my mouth. great post ;-)
 
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Cuchulainn
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September 7th, 2012, 10:51 am

yep, that was excellent, EA. Points 1,2,3 were bang on. For point 3, I would append most of EU, with the possible exception of Germany where it is still respectable to be an engineer.
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ElysianEagle
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September 7th, 2012, 11:02 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: Cuchulainnyep, that was excellent, EA. Points 1,2,3 were bang on. For point 3, I would append most of EU, with the possible exception of Germany where it is still respectable to be an engineer.good observation. where i work (here in the US) most developers are foreigners, with very few native born americans. ironically, i've noticed that those of my ethnicity that were born here, rarely ever go into s/w engineering, even tho the field is practically dominated by those of my ilk.i think the generally anti-intellectual nature of US culture, coupled with the emphasis on superficiality which leads younger folk to aim for the glamorous, management positions definitely plays a role.
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