Artificial Intelligence Awards 2021

Best AI-Driven Trading Platform 2021: NautilusTrader & FinTech Innovators of the Year 2021 - Australia Nautech Systems leverages the latest technologies to develop next-generation trading platforms and solutions to power the new paradigm of AI-driven trading. Automated algorithmic trading has existed for decades, however, more recently, Nautech Systems has observed a huge surge in the use of AI for alpha discovery through training probabilistic models which can provide predictive trading signals, as well as help to manage market risk and trade execution. This is often termed ‘AI-first’ finance. Quantitative traders and researchers spend most of their time working on the models, which is their core competency. They may not have the time or inclination to build out significant trading systems infrastructure of high quality. This can present a huge barrier for entry into the AI finance space, with a buy vs build dilemma for the systems running the trading operation. Designing and building this infrastructure from scratch can involve a significant cost to market, possibly taking years and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Nautech’s platform, NautilusTrader offers a faster path to start trading by proving a highly performant and robust infrastructure solution, with first- class AI support for back testing and deploying strategies live in a mission- critical Python native environment. The traders also retain full control and ownership of their IP, with the models remaining safely secure on their own servers – not sitting on an unknown third-party server. It seems the vast majority of the global community of data scientists and AI engineers have voted for Python as their language of choice to develop AI models and applications. This really informed the technology choice with Python needing to be a first-class citizen in the platform, not just added as an after-thought. This scenario often lacks support for the latest Python features or libraries, which is crucial because the pace of innovation is so rapid; you want to be able to immediately use the latest versions. Currently, clients tend to approach Nautech with pain points related to back testing and deploying trading strategies using Python, specifically ones utilising models developed through machine learning. The key innovation to overcome Python’s inherently lower performance was to leverage a brilliant technology called Cython, which is a hybrid language of Python, with ‘C’ inspired syntax. This allows Cython code to be efficiently compiled into native machine code binaries, which is where the C-like ‘bare-metal’ performance comes from. Another aspect of the project is that because the core platform is entirely open-sourced on GitHub, anyone in the world can pull the codebase onto their machine and start back testing, trading live, or developing improvements to the project. Nautech has seen some amazing contributions from members of the data science and trading community, many bug reports in the early stages, and a lot of extremely valuable feedback, which has helped shape and refine the platform and project. So, how did Nautech Systems Founder, Chris Sellers get started in the AI finance space? He tells us, “When I was younger, I had some exposure to programming by making different types of games for myself and friends to play. Then around 10 years ago, I fell in love with financial markets and algorithmic trading, where you’re competing in a zero sum game against some of the smartest minds on the planet who are extremely well-resourced – Here, there is boundless potential for rewards if the risk is also managed carefully.” He then decided to write his own trading platform, as what he required for his own trading didn’t currently exist in the public domain. He said, “During this time, I was working as an airline pilot, a career which no longer inspired me. I was spending most of my free time working on what would eventually become NautilusTrader – it became an obsession.” Chris went through a difficult period of uncertainty, having already invested so much in his aviation career, and then the pandemic hit. He found himself without a job, broke, and with a partner expecting a first baby son. So, he went all in with NautilusTrader, burning the candle at both ends. He decided the fastest path to grow the project was to open source the code, which was also a risk as he was effectively giving away years-worth of IP – this was to get some help from the community and to gain some traction, which eventually started arriving. Slowly, the value of the project was being noticed, and Chris started getting contacted to provide consulting and professional services. Indeed, NautilusTrader may have been a challenge to get off the ground initially, but it has proven to be highly successful and keeps going from strength to strength. Now, the company is working on a premium SaaS and on-prem product, which provides a front-end UI for controlling and monitoring containerised live deployments, and highly distributed parallel back testing, which would be valuable for larger or more serious trading operations. Company: Nautech Systems Contact: Chris Sellers Email: [email protected] Website: Nov21463 Nautech Systems