Lucena Research, a leader in predictive analytics for investment professionals, Snags Top Spots In Hedge Fund live trading competition, BattleFin

ATLANTA, January 19, 2015 – Two hedge fund strategies powered by algorithms designed at Lucena Research, Inc., a Georgia Tech startup founded by GT Computing Professor Tucker Balch and entrepreneur Erez Katz, recently placed first and second in the Pro Division of BattleFin’s international trading competition.

The tournament, called BattleFin (, was designed by Wall Street traders Tim Harrington, Brian Tomeo, and Marc LoPresti as a way to find new hedge fund talent.

Finish LineAccording to Bloomberg, hedge funds returned only 2 percent on average in 2014, their worst year since 2011. As 2015 begins, funds are shutting down at a rate not seen since the financial crisis with 461 funds closing in the first half of 2014. BattleFin is one way Wall Street is seeking new talent.

“We run the tournaments to find the best investment talent across the world. We are willing to work with early stage managers and strategies that show the most promise,” says Tim Harrington.

“We decided to address the massive brain drain from Wall Street to internet start-ups by building an incubator. The platform allows them to trade their investment strategies in a fun and competitive way,” says Brian Tomeo.

The trading competition which ended December 31st, ran for three months and attracted participants from around the globe. Lucena-designed strategies snagged the top two spots in the Pro division.

The two strategies, codenamed “BlackDog” and “TieBreaker” are tactical asset allocation and long/short market neutral strategy were built by Balch, Katz and their team at Lucena using Big Data and Machine Learning. The strategies significantly outperformed the market and topped the competition performance metrics of 15 other funds. BlackDog, for instance, returned over 25% in 2014, while TieBreaker returned 9.42% with a Sharpe ratio of 2.47.

According to Balch, “We’ve built a sophisticated software and supercomputing infrastructure that allows us to quickly build and test candidate strategies. BlackDog and TieBreaker emerged as the best among many hundreds we’ve tested over the last few years.”

Awards for the top finishers will be presented in Miami on January 27th.

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