Conference Themes 

The Power (and Limitations) of Technology

Soon there will be no room for traditional players without any digital capabilities – markets will become increasingly efficient and the margin pool will shrink. Profit distribution will become skewed and if you aren’t the best, you won’t be able to compete. But technology has it's limitations and there is still very much a place for human traders – if you can’t apply the mathematics to the real world then the tools are useless. 
The Power of Technology stream will offer sessions for all levels, whether you want to go back to basics or discover out-there technology in the early days of implementation. Most importantly the sessions will go beyond theoretical discussion and showcase practical examples on how to get the most out of tech.

Sessions:

Debate: Man vs Machine, can a robot ever really replace human traders?
The tools available are increasing and improving daily, from quantum computers to machine learning - is there a place for humans in a world where technology is better, stronger and faster? Decide for yourself whether the end result will be collaboration or replacement:

Is the industry headed towards pure machine learning or will humans always be needed to decide on the ML architecture and data sets to use?
Half machine and half human – will this be the optimal work force?
Will the data scientist role become obsolete with machine learning bridging the skill gap?

Case study: The life cycle of tech adoption, from cutting costs to finding your advantage
Increase automation in the back office – cut out the middle man by arming traders with the equipment they need to automate processes themselves
Look holistically at your work flow from end-to-end and find ways to build a more systematic approach – automate manual tasks and utilize liquidity seeking and execution algorithms
Create an advantage from data and increase margins – process internal and external data so the trader can focus on finding insights from the data instead
Let computers take over the trading for ultimate efficiency and advantage – decide whether your analytical set-up should be sourced externally or built internally

Markets are never stagnant - tech shouldn’t be either
Move to hyper-awareness by building a system which can continuously check investments over a 24 hour period and monitor         portfolios in real time
Use evolutionary computing models with constantly evolving parameters to adapt to changing markets
Avoid alpha decay by creating dynamic systems from the beginning that will be able to adjust and give the best results

Panel: The trials and tribulations of machine learning
Understand how to overcome the hurdles of using natural language processing for non-English data
Train traders to work in harmony with machine learning – identifying one off events and teaching the program what this means in relation to the portfolio
Use sentiment as a way of generating alpha – understand the polarity around information and what the direct and secondary effects are

Beyond machine learning: Deep learning and neural networks
Find latent structures within raw, unlabelled and unstructured data
Perform automatic anomaly extraction without the need for human intervention
Discover a new level of untapped alpha by analysing text, images and speech

Case study: Quantum computing for portfolio optimisation
Decode markets and find “invisible” patterns quicker than ever before 
Leapfrog existing approaches and surpass the reliability and speed of traditional computing to arrange the best basket of assets and securities for shifting markets in real time
Calculate a vast series of potential outcomes than binary-based computers with a probabilistic prediction

Case study: Natural language understanding – unlocking the predictive power of speech
Predict market patterns by processing speech data and discover changes before competitors
Transfer learning by taking a general model trained on one language data set and fine-tune it for more specific examples for a more cost-effective and efficient approach
Provide traders with important information to analyse from language processed so they can spot market trends faster

The Tech Showcase
Next-level tech stage: see live demonstrations of the latest bleeding-edge technology from quantum computers to deep learning algorithms
The start-up platform: 10 companies, 4 minutes to impress, 1 winner
Tech roundtables: pick the brains of tech providers during this hour session

Big Data, Big Deal
Alternative data was the biggest buzz word of 2018 – now the buzz has died down, how helpful can alternative data sets really be? With advances in technology our data footprints are constantly expanding, and the amount of data available is growing at a rapid rate.
In the Big Data, Big Deal stream you’ll learn how to tackle data sets from the weird and wonderful to the traditional.

Sessions:

Case study: Look internally for new and exclusive data sources
Break down the Chinese wall and nurture a sharing culture across departments for a seamless amalgamation of internal data
Discover alpha by utilizing exclusive internal content for a competitive edge at no extra cost

Debate: The case for and against standardised data
You’ve decided what data sets are worth your time, now you need to process it for insights. Is it better to obtain the data set raw or would a standardised set prove more useful? Hear a case for each side from two data scientists and decide for yourself:
Can data be made more profitable by outsourcing the standardising and normalising of data?
Does the structuring of data result in bias and a loss of unique insights?
Is alpha lost when data is processed? Does raw data mean maximum alpha potential?

Case study: News data sets are untapped alpha
Discover high quality data sets from reliable sources which can be processed to find big world changes and analysed to see how this effects markets
Overcome barriers to expanding the scope of trading to serve globally by tapping into international news outlets
Reduce false positives that would otherwise need to be manually investigated by using a news overlay

Panel: Drowning in data
Aggregate data using natural language processing to categorise and prioritise
Navigate the regulation minefield including GDPR and understand which data sets are safe and useful
Examples of unique data sets which have provided value

The Talent War Summit
There is a major shortage of talent in capital markets. Gone are the days of economic graduates lining up to become a trader. The internal ecosystem of an average hedge fund is now a diverse pool of talented individuals from a wide variety of disciplines. It truly takes a village to raise the technology and analyse the data sets needed to maintain a competitive edge.

This year, AIDST is taking the conversation around recruitment one step further by inviting a steering committee of students to run the very first Talent War Summit – hear from HR executives, recruitment agencies and most importantly the talent themselves to find out how to snag the best and brightest.

Sessions:

Panel: Culture clash: Bean bags in Silicone Valley vs suits in Wall Street
Appeal to mathematical and computational talent with an internal shake-up
Understand your own unique offering and how this will appeal to prospective employees
Offer training to senior executives and managers to help them understand each unique role and how it fits into the team

Diversity is king
Populate your team with a multitude of disciplines and talent to build the best processes and architecture
Recognize the gaps in your organization and the specific capabilities needed to plug these gaps
Ensure a higher percentage of female employees by forming stronger relationships with female led STEM groups at universities

Case study: Embrace open-source projects to attract and recruit the best people
Run regular coding competitions for students to nurture the best talent from early on
Encourage all employees to get involved in these projects – foster a collaborative environment between your traders and tech gurus from the get go
Expand open-source projects to those with a financial background – find talented fund managers who can operate the powerful         tools available

Networking:
Recruitment fair: speak to the top recruitment agencies to discover how they can help you expand your team beyond the conventional
Student-led roundtables: join talented PHD students from top universities for an in-depth frank discussion about recruitment, work-place culture and the roles that would attract them
Hackathon: watch the brightest tech minds in action at AIDST all-day hackathon
Women in finance brunch: women from the financial industry will be hosting a brunch for the up and coming women ready to break into the industry

Increase automation in the back office – cut out the middle man by arming traders with the equipment they need to automate processes themselves

Look holistically at your work flow from end-to-end and find ways to build a more systematic approach – automate manual tasks and utilize liquidity seeking and execution algorithms