My name is Paul Lam. I love working with data. I am a data scientist at uSwitch.com in London and work on Big Data on a daily basis. No, I don't write MapReduce with Java. That would be crazy. Instead, I use Cascalog. It is a programming library to write algorithms to process enormous amounts of data with ease. Contrary to popular misconceptions of a data scientist, most of my day is spent performing less glamorous tasks like data cleaning, structuring, and feature extraction. Which in turn enable our data team to build a graph-based recommendation system to increase cross-selling, multi-touchpoint attribution modelling for realistic ROI analytics, or just to calculate the lifetime value of each and everyone of our customers.
In addition to working on big data, I work on fast data too. My small business, Quantisan System, develops an artificial intelligent system that interprets streaming financial data to help fund managers make real-time decisions.
- Big Data London, "Composing re-useable ETL on Hadoop", October 2012
- 54th annual conference on Operational Research, "An agile approach to knowledge discovery on web log data", September 2012
- Data Science London, "Bootstrapping Data Science at uSwitch", March 2012
- Forward Tech Talks, "Cascalog: A Quick Introduction", February 2012
Paul's Trading Experience
(Note: This was written in 2011 when I was trading actively. My focus has shifted since then.)
From 2000 to 2006, I traded solely on fundamental analysis in the U.S. markets on a long term basis (around a year or two). Also known as a buy-and-hold strategy, or buy-and-pray, depending on who you ask. I have done fairly well during this time and averaged around 20% return a year. Having been reasonably successful and with too much greed in my mind, I actively traded the OTCBB and pink sheet penny stocks for swing trades (1 to 3 days holding period) from 2005 to 2007. That didn't turn out so well and I lost most of my trading portfolio. The silver lining in this plunder is that it made me realize that trading isn't usually as smooth sailing as I've once thought. In most of 2007, I spent a few months just self-reflecting and learning more about trading. It is also when I became aware of my trading shortcomings and started to study technical analysis, risk management, and psychology of trading.
"There is nothing like losing all you have in the world for teaching you what not to do. And when you know what not to do in order not to lose money, you begin to learn what to do in order to win. Did you get that? You begin to learn!" Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
In 2008, I experimented with day trading futures contracts and automated trading strategy development through TradeStation. This marked the beginning of my interest in quantitative finance to leverage my vigorous engineering background. What came out of this is a scientific approach to trading and a better understanding of the ebbs and flow of the markets. This also led to my realization of the importance of documentation for trading. The result of which is the creation of a trading blog to record my stock trades and thoughts. In late 2009, I started dabbling in the foreign exchange markets. However this time around, I've learned my lesson and started out by paper trading for a few months before risking real money. In 2010, my algorithmic trading system won a few international forex trading competitions. I was even invited to Geneva for a TV interview by a Swiss bank.