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Retiring the Contest

I’m writing today to announce the retirement of our daily contest. In 2018 we started the contest in its current form with two goals in mind. First, to act as a realistic challenge for Quantopian members by creating constraints and goals in line with what institutional quants typically see. Second, to act as a predictive tool to funnel algos into the Quantopian fund. The contest constraints reflected our commitment to leveling the playing field by providing a high bar for users on par with those often faced in professional quant finance. Many users rose to the challenge and exceeded our expectations. However, with our strategic pivot away from directly funding algos, the contest has outlived our second goal as a means to funnel algos to the fund. We feel the contest has been a great success but it’s time to move on.

It’s exciting to note the contest has paid out over $180k to more than 230 individuals from 39 countries. More importantly, 80+ algos from the contest were licensed for the Quantopian fund. Meeting the stringent metrics which the contest requires is not easily achieved. Just fulfilling the constraints to get into the contest is commendable. Continuing to meet those constraints with out of sample execution is no small feat. Everyone who ever entered the contest should be proud of their efforts and we congratulate you and recognize your hard work and achievements.

The final contest date will be June 5, 2020 and prizes should be paid out within a week after that.

I want to assure the community that Quantopian remains committed to leveling the playing field. We are looking into other ways which individual users can be engaged and personally benefit from crowdsourced efforts. Moving beyond the contest with these third party challenges is part of this effort with more options to come. Furthermore, Quantopian will continue to provide the community with enterprise quality data and resources for learning and personal use.


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23 responses

Looking forward to more third-party challenges!

Posted my first ever contest algo 2 hours Algo :’(

I just recieved good and bad news at once. The good news: just got a mail from Q that I won something in the contest. Guess what the bad news were...
Anyway, I'm very happy that I won something and greatful to Q for this opportunity!

I am a little confused. Are the algorithms that were already licensed still being funded? Is the contract nullified? Thanks.

As someone who has been using the platform for many years, even helping to set up chairs for some of the first Summer St. office meetups, and a two-time winner of the contest in its first iteration, I lost interest when IB integration was dropped and I could no longer trade for my own account. I appreciate the platform and would have paid for that service. I recently decided to give the platform another chance and started working on algorithms for the contest in its current form. Without either of these or the opportunity for an allocation I don't see what place Quantopian has for me, or quite frankly the community that it has built over the years.
Much luck with your strategic pivot.

Maybe a crowd fund contest? Like entering the context cost 1 dollar.

What's the plan to keep users active? For example, that long only competition - had little interest as many quants specialise in market neutral strategies. How will Quantopian continue to engage continuous use of their platform? If users are not regular, they will move elsewhere and third party challenges are not enough to keep them coming back from time-to-time.

Hope Quantopian won't dissolve or go bankrupt

Hard to say. There is very low transparency from the company and the features are getting killed abruptly and at the pace of Google

This kind of behavior is usually only possible when you dominate the market as Quantopian does in this niche (algo-trading SaaS with built in price and fundamental data). But its not a good long term strategy.

Thinking loud, if just one of those 80 licensed algos was making any decent returns, then they would probably leave daily contests as an acquisition channel. So as an uneducated observer I am taking this as a bad signal.

But it would be nice for a change for Quantopian to comment if they are getting what they are hoping for, what the long term goals are and how can the community get more involved. I would run Quantopian totally opposite to what is being done right now by having a page that publishes all fund metrics and even break it down to participating algos. That would create much more excitement in the community whichever way the returns go.

Thank you Quantopian, I really have enjoyed participating in the daily contest. The daily contest has motivated me spending my time learning trading algorithm. It will be great if you keep the daily contest. I respect your decision; it is totally up to you. I guess the daily contest did not generate new algos or ideas lately so that it became useless for Q. I guess the daily contest became less important due to the challenges. I guess they kind of overlapped.

I guess the challenges can give another motivation for me and many others.
Please send me an email when you have a new challenge.

I was accepted by GaTech for MS analytics. I don't have any job experience or education background in CS. My Q experience enabled me to write "won 1st prize in the daily contest" on my resume. This helped me a lot. Thank you. I will be studying analytics to become a data scientist. Thank you very much!

This is sad, so how do I show off my algo's performance now?
The last challenge was a month ago. Also, data holdout can be cheated. The only good way to evaluate is to evaluate code-frozen algos daily.
Even if there's no cash reward the contest was a good benchmark.

If you just want to have your track record verified, you should take a look at FundSeeder.

Hi I am completely new to quantopian. So is it worth me making algorithms on this platform? Please advise??


Yes, Quantopian is the best platform on the web to learn algorithmic trading.

First of all, I am thankfull for all I have learned at Quantopian. I enjoyed competing in the competition. It kept me motivated, as well as the chance of winning an allocation/licence for the Quantopian fund did.
Hopefully there will be an alternative, apart from the separate challenges, otherwise I fear that without this goal/competition I will lose some interest. I was hoping for a competition with worldwide equities, other asset classes (bonds, commodities, forex, etc), less stringent metrics.
I am looking forward to the alternatives. Thanks again!

@Albert R , can it be used by traders abroad, with accounts in other currencies etc?

@Alex Meeg, it just connects to your broker account, currency does not matter.

My 2 cents for what is it worth is that I have used the platform to learn (and also trade) and have gotten ideas and help from both Qstaff and the community which i appreciate. My algos are not the best and the loss of the contests does not directly effect me but if my algos were good enough i would be very disappointed that Q was dropping them. My fear is with the loss of real time trading and now the contests, what is a next? For me access to the data is very important because i run my algos on a day or two delay but if that starts to go longer i would have no choice but to look elsewhere which i don't want to do.

Quantopian rules. I've learned a great deal here. Enormous thanks to the whole company and all the community contributors.

Yes, very sad - I'm sure many (including me) would pay a modest monthly fee for entry to the competition and access to the resources - I have no interest in the prize, just the process

I am sorry to hear that. However, if you have winning strategies, you may consider to use IBridgePy to run your Quantopian strategies to trade with TD Ameritrade (zero commision) or Interactive Brokers or even Robinhood(also zero commision).
The YouTube tutorial of trading with TD Ameritrade in IBridgePy is here.

Disclaimer: This is Dr. Hui Liu, the creator of IBridgePy

@ John Fawcett

  • would you be able to share the new strategic pivot of quantopian? If it is other challenges then just leave the long/short competition alive without monetary rewards. I believe a lot of the participants - if not most - enjoy the process more than the potential reward. what's your downside for keeping it alive? it's been a great success so why the need to kill it? you could still cherry-pick algos, if you wanted to and most resources (manpower, monetary reward) can still be directed to your new strategic pivot. based on the little information the community has been given, I find it a destructive decision to retire this contest.

when are you gonna turn off the back tester? gotta ask