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When do mere mortals get access to the Research Platform

Ok so I signed up for the Research Platform quite a while ago and got at least 3 of my colleagues to join as well. Now I see that some other people here seem to already have access. So I was wondering: Is there a schedule when it will be opened up for us mere mortals? I don't mind waiting in a queue as long it is of the fifo type but I would love to know how long it is.....

13 responses

We have let in about 400 people off the beta waiting list in the past few weeks. We are slowing adding more as we continue to improve the tool and scale up the systems. I am hoping to let in another 500 or so in the next week, and will continue to monitor growth and add more people from there.

The queue is of the fifo type, so I expect you'll have access soon.

Thanks for your interest.
KR

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Is the ultimate plan to open it up to all registered users (i.e. "mere mortals"), or will it be limited? And will it be free?

@ Karen: Thanks for the update

@ Grant: When signing up it says something like "you get 3 months for free and an additonal 9 months for free if you get 3 other people to sign up as well" --> I doubt it will be free forever.

Well, if the whole Quantopian business plan is to build a hedge fund, based on the efforts of users, it'd be kinda odd to start charging for the tools they need to do their job, which would tend to work against the idea that the more monkeys there are on typewriters, the higher the probability one will eventually produce a decent algorithm.

i dont think the end business model will be a hedge fund. i think quantopian will be very successful, but i cant imagine the hedge fund being a sustainable franchise. successful trading firms are sustainable because they have lots of successful traders, and some will always be scared to strike out on their own. the firms lose on the people they train and then have the confidence to leave, but they win that back and a lot more on the traders that either irrationaly lack the confidence or are rationally too risk averse (ie have kids) to leave. but on quantopian, everyone here is doing it for themselves already. so why wouldnt they open to poaching? which means you have to pay market rate cuts. that all being said, once you have a platform where everyone in the world can try to make algos, and you alone get to sift through that sand to find the nuggets... that is very valuable. sorry, i know no one asked me.

I hope Quantopian doesn't start charging for the data or tools or it will make it really hard for them to compete with off-line tools like Wealth-Lab Right-Edge or Amibroker.

@Grant your question is a good one. The plan is to absolutely open the platform up to all users.

Right now our thinking is that some version of research will be available to everyone for free, but if you want to do heavy lifting, you will have to pay for additional resources. The biggest constraint right now is memory, and part of the slow rollout is watching how much people use so that we can appropriately size the free version to be useful.

Thanks Karen,

It would be nice to be able to see how much of the available RAM is being used (along with processor core utilization, etc.) Any way to show this?

Is the memory allocated per notebook? Or per user? And can more than one notebook run at a time (as for the backtester)?

Also, what is the thinking on offering parallel processing? Presumably, your platform is has multi-core processors, so perhaps it could be better utilized by enabling them to be used in parallel.

Grant

There isn't currently a way to show the memory allocation, although we are planning to add this. (I say that a lot right now.)

The memory is allocated per user, and is spread across your notebooks. If you think you are running into memory constraints, shutting down and notebook you aren't using is a good way to get back some of the memory.

Multiple notebooks can run at one time, and even if you leave a notebook, it isn't shutdown. To stop a notebook from running, you need to press the stop button on the right hand side of the notebook list screen.

We are planning to allow users to kick off backtests using the Quantopian platform (instead of Zipline) which will allow you to parallel process backtests....is there something else you were thinking with regards to parallel processing?

Thanks Karen,

Excellent news on being able to kick off backtests (hopefully, with backtest parameters that can be set in the notebook). All I'd say is that it is really the final results that matter, so if there's anything you can do to speed up the backtester, by not calculating and emitting intermediate results, the better. What will be the limit on the number of backtests that can be run in parallel from a given notebook? Or will it just be one?

Regarding parallel processing, Thomas W. and others should have a feel for what is possible in Python and possibly on your platform. I don't have anything specific at this point.

Grant

One of the key use cases we want to support with research is parameter optimization. We plan to find a way to easily support this where you identify the algo, the parameters and we run the backtests needed and produce a sexy heat map. We are still aways away from this, but it's the goal. Running parallel backtests will be part of it.

I don't yet know what limits there will be on this in regards to the free version and any possible pricing. We haven't nailed down those details yet.

As for speed, it's something we are working on inside and outside of research. You can track our progress speeding up the backtester here: https://www.quantopian.com/performance

On the parallel processing topic, at this point, I'm curious if I could set up N processor cores, and divvy up the RAM among them. For example, if I'm screening stocks, I'd like to process N stocks in parallel, rather than just one at a time. How many cores are available to each notebook?

from what i understand, using cython there is only one processor you can use in a ipython noteback (due to the gil).