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The Superstitious Fund Project – Trading algorithm that operates Superstitiously – DI RCA 2012

Superstitious Fund Project 00

The Superstitious Fund Project is a trading algorithm that operates Superstitiously designed by Shing Tat Chung, a student of Design Interactions at the RCA. It is is a live experiment in which an algorithm trades based on superstitious beliefs. Shing designed the autonomous algorithm to make decisions based on lunar cycles and numerology. It is also programmed to develop its own form of superstitious logic, creating lucky and unlucky values that influence its behaviour. 144 people from around the world have already invested a total of £4828.88 in the fund, which will return the resulting balance back to its investors in a year’s time.

The project deals with future scenarios, familiar RCA – Design Interactions teaching methodology. Shing tells CAN that inspiration for the project comes from the 2010 Flash Crash – an occurrence where a stock market can plunge only to recover those losses within minutes. The actual reasons why this happens are unclear – suggesting all kinds of possibilities where algorithms developing own behaviour / identity which is beyond our understanding. To address this notion, in this project Shing asks the question of what will result from an algorithm or robot that behaves superstitiously? The accompanying book documents the creation of the fund, which was developed with the assistance of finance professionals, fortune tellers, programmers and lawyers.

The Algorithm was programmed by Jim L Hunt from, and will be made open source soon. Shing and Jim designed the algorithm over the past couple of months, where Shing has been supplying the ‘rules’ and Jim has been implementing them. Shing tells CAN that a lot of the focus was not only centred around the superstitions it incorporated but also on the money management and how it would trade. For example how much money it would risk and would there be different levels of risk it would associate with specific decisions. Whilst also creating stop losses, take profits and how many times would it operate in a day, if there were any delays between trades etc. These were vital in creating a more stable algorithm. The Algorithm operates on Meta Trader as a EA Advisor. The Program is MQL4 which is like a cut down version of C. Metatrader is an online platform that gives algorithmic access to a specific Broker. In this case – GKFX. There it remains trading Monday to Friday 8am – 9pm. Shing tells us that there are quite a few ways to use trading algorithms – however this route was the most accessible for the general public. Others that included using the API privileges of a Broker would mean having to put down a significantly larger deposit. The Algorithm reads the data though metarader in terms of charts, however it is also connected to a mySQL database where it can access moon phases and create lucky and unlucky values. The idea of an algorithm or Robot that behaved in a human way appealed to Shing. So a trading algorithm that behaves superstitiously, selling and buying as part of an experiment, live on the stock market was a great idea to push the algorithm through. Here through a live experiment as well as a social interactive project was the perfect platform to engage with the general audience about Irrationalities and Technology operating in a human way in a financial sector

The Live Performance Board shown above streams the Live Data, refreshing the Values every eight seconds. The MySQL Database uploaded the values onto a Web Url, in which an Arduino collected and accessed this Data. So in the Board where in total Six Arduinos. Three of them, via ethernet, collected the data of the Url, and passed on the data to the Dot Matrix Boards that were donated by ‘Embedded Adventures’ So the unlucky lucky values, current balance, % increase decrease and the time left until the end of the experiment are all streamed live. |

The project was sponsored by Microsoft Research, GDP Capital and Embedded Adventures
Supported by

See also “How to Value a Ghost” by Shing Tat Chung, part of the Superstitious project series but this time dealing with reports of ghost sightings and how these affect the housing market.

Royal College of Art – Design Interactions 2012 – Exhibition opens today in Battersea. This year, the Royal College of Art’s annual summer show will include work by the greatest number of graduating students in the College’s 175-year history. Show RCA 2012 is to take place simultaneously in six buildings across the College’s two campuses in Battersea and Kensington. Design Interactions is located in Battersea. Click here for directions.