The Trading Test

A big-time financial firm is recruiting tech talent by offering prizes to the college kids whose software chooses the best investments

4 min read

Brian Eckerly, an electrical engineering student at Ohio State University, booted up his Dell laptop one morning in January and loaded a little program he'd finished coding the night before. Numbers flashed on the screen, and Eckerly scanned them for a minute. Then he went to class.

That day, and in the following weeks, the laptop sat undisturbed at Eckerly's off-campus apartment in Columbus, carrying out his program's instructions. It connected to an online brokerage firm, gathered stock data, crunched some statistics, determined whether certain conditions had been met and, if so, executed trades. Eckerly began with a handsome sum--US $100 000--and in seven weeks his program increased it to $394 190.

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The Future of Deep Learning Is Photonic

Computing with light could slash the energy needs of neural networks

10 min read

This computer rendering depicts the pattern on a photonic chip that the author and his colleagues have devised for performing neural-network calculations using light.

Alexander Sludds

Think of the many tasks to which computers are being applied that in the not-so-distant past required human intuition. Computers routinely identify objects in images, transcribe speech, translate between languages, diagnose medical conditions, play complex games, and drive cars.

The technique that has empowered these stunning developments is called deep learning, a term that refers to mathematical models known as artificial neural networks. Deep learning is a subfield of machine learning, a branch of computer science based on fitting complex models to data.

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