Computational Investing, Part I

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7/10 stars
based on  20 reviews
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Cost FREE
Start Date TBA

Course Details

Cost

FREE

Upcoming Schedule

  • TBA

Course Provider

Coursera online courses
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with yo...
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with your coursework. Coursera also partners with the US State Department to create “learning hubs” around the world. Students can get internet access, take courses, and participate in weekly in-person study groups to make learning even more collaborative. Begin your journey into the mysteries of the human brain by taking courses in neuroscience. Learn how to navigate the data infrastructures that multinational corporations use when you discover the world of data analysis. Follow one of Coursera’s “Skill Tracks”. Or try any one of its more than 560 available courses to help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

Provider Subject Specialization
Humanities
Sciences & Technology
5003 reviews

Course Description

Overview
Why do the prices of some companies’ stocks seem to move up and down together while others move separately? What does portfolio “diversification” really mean and how important is it? What should the price of a stock be? How can we discover and exploit the relationships between equity prices automatically? We’ll examine these questions, and others, from a computational point of view. You will learn many of the principles and algorithms hedge funds and investment professionals use to maximize return and reduce risk in equity portfolios.

Topics
We start with a tour of the mathematics and statistics that underlie equity price changes, and the relationships between different groups of equities. We’ll review the most important economic theories of investing and how to create programs that take advantage of them. We’ll look at the data needed to do this, and how to manipulate it effectively. Take a look at the course syllabus&nbs...
Overview
Why do the prices of some companies’ stocks seem to move up and down together while others move separately? What does portfolio “diversification” really mean and how important is it? What should the price of a stock be? How can we discover and exploit the relationships between equity prices automatically? We’ll examine these questions, and others, from a computational point of view. You will learn many of the principles and algorithms hedge funds and investment professionals use to maximize return and reduce risk in equity portfolios.

Topics
We start with a tour of the mathematics and statistics that underlie equity price changes, and the relationships between different groups of equities. We’ll review the most important economic theories of investing and how to create programs that take advantage of them. We’ll look at the data needed to do this, and how to manipulate it effectively. Take a look at the course syllabus here.

Important note: This is a project oriented course involving Python programming.

Be sure this course is right for you!
This course is intended for folks who have a strong programming background, but who are new to finance and investing.  Check out the two links below to see if the course is a good match.
  • Take a look at the course syllabus here.
  • Take a look at what other students thought of the course here.
Course options
You can enroll in the course in several ways:

  • Regular enrollment. In this track you are expected to watch the videos and complete the assignments.
  • Signature track: This is a brand new option offered by Coursera. More information below.
Outcomes for regular and signature tracks
At the end of the course you will have created a working market simulator that you can use to test your own investing strategies.  You will understand the basic principles of Modern Portfolio Theory and Active Portfolio Management.

Workload
On average you can expect to spend up to 8 to 12 hours per week on programming.
Reviews 7/10 stars
20 Reviews for Computational Investing, Part I

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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.

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Dan profile image
Dan profile image
3/10 starsCompleted
  • 9 reviews
  • 9 completed
7 years, 10 months ago
Very interesting topic, but even more superficial treatment. There was a good part, which consisted in simple Python assignments, setup with a VM worked well and I liked it because I had never used Python before. Might also be interesting to someone new to the idea of automatic trading and sharpe ratio (but very little beyond that, and at introductory level only). The teacher was kind to share his framework to run python script over stock data. Overall, however, in my opinion it's been the most shallow class I've attended on coursera so far (of about a dozen). It's incredible how little material was covered each week in the main lecture, and with no depth at all, whereas other classes on Coursera like the one about Financial Econometrics were able to cover quite thoroughly 100 times the amount of material in one week. While writing code to look at financial data can be fun, this class didn't even start to attack the meat of writing f... Very interesting topic, but even more superficial treatment. There was a good part, which consisted in simple Python assignments, setup with a VM worked well and I liked it because I had never used Python before. Might also be interesting to someone new to the idea of automatic trading and sharpe ratio (but very little beyond that, and at introductory level only). The teacher was kind to share his framework to run python script over stock data. Overall, however, in my opinion it's been the most shallow class I've attended on coursera so far (of about a dozen). It's incredible how little material was covered each week in the main lecture, and with no depth at all, whereas other classes on Coursera like the one about Financial Econometrics were able to cover quite thoroughly 100 times the amount of material in one week. While writing code to look at financial data can be fun, this class didn't even start to attack the meat of writing financial models and there was no real treatment of the very important topics of how to test models, how to get a sense of how much results can be trusted and the various tradeoffs in modeling. I wouldn't recommend the class I took as it only skims the surface, but it's an interesting topic and I have great hopes for the class to be overhauled and go deeper in the future.
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Paul Asselin profile image
Paul Asselin profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
8 years, 1 month ago
I didn't have any exposure to computational finance, just a basic knowledge of python and finance. This was a great course and I strongly recommend it.
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Mark Angel profile image
Mark Angel profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
8 years, 1 month ago
This course is thorough, well paced and has well constructed assignments. A very interesting introduction to the markets for someone with some python programming experience. NB There was a lot of reuse of code from assignment to assignment, which greatly reduces the workload.
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Andrea profile image
Andrea profile image
2/10 starsDropped
  • 6 reviews
  • 5 completed
8 years, 4 months ago
This could be re-done and be much better! I took it to get some exposure to Python while doing something fairly familiar with an investment portfolio. The lectures were poorly structured though, sometimes too short, and not explaining or even mentioning concepts that were applied in the homework. Accessing Python had been convoluted into a difficult process to use specific tasks. It was aggravating for me as it was un-focused. It seemed like there was no serious attempt after several weeks to improve so I finally gave up the ghost of learning anything about investing or Python.
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Gabriel Candal profile image
Gabriel Candal profile image
4/10 starsCompleted
  • 18 reviews
  • 14 completed
8 years, 6 months ago
Prior experience: Python and statistics. The course started out really good (even if I played the videos with 2x speed, since the instructor speaks really slow and explains well enough to be able to understand everything at the first time), and the instructor participated A LOT in the forums and really used student's feedback. Another plus is the fact it uses open-source software(did not have any troubles on setup on Windows), Now, the bad: -Even if you have programming experience, you will waste a lot of time getting used to QSTK (unless you already know Panda and numPy), even if you already know how the problem should be solved. -Coherence between videos vanishes since the middle of the course. What I mean is, even if the videos are well designed individually, it's hard to maintain an idea of the bigger picture. -The coherence of each -Evaluation is based on 2 questions with 4 options and you got 5 tries, so even if you don't make ... Prior experience: Python and statistics. The course started out really good (even if I played the videos with 2x speed, since the instructor speaks really slow and explains well enough to be able to understand everything at the first time), and the instructor participated A LOT in the forums and really used student's feedback. Another plus is the fact it uses open-source software(did not have any troubles on setup on Windows), Now, the bad: -Even if you have programming experience, you will waste a lot of time getting used to QSTK (unless you already know Panda and numPy), even if you already know how the problem should be solved. -Coherence between videos vanishes since the middle of the course. What I mean is, even if the videos are well designed individually, it's hard to maintain an idea of the bigger picture. -The coherence of each -Evaluation is based on 2 questions with 4 options and you got 5 tries, so even if you don't make the assignments you can complete the course by just answering randomly. And, trying not to be picky here but... the music+photo+"Tucker Balch,Phd" at beginning of the videos is really unnecessary and the sound quality on some videos should be fixed.
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Lyon profile image
Lyon profile image
2/10 starsDropped
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
8 years, 7 months ago
Quite a lousy course. Tucker really just throws you in to the deep end. I started taking the class and, while I'm a competent programmer, the course just throws too much at you. The course said you should have familiarity with programming, not have to be an excellent Python programmer to start! Really this course should be taken after some Python programming course since Tucker does very little to help you along. The first assignment was also FAR too difficult and complex, he doesn't bother to start with any ramping up and just starts at 10 and loses half the class along the way. NOT recommended at all, and needs a lot of work.
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Equanimous Creativity profile image
Equanimous Creativity profile image
2/10 starsCompleted
  • 33 reviews
  • 32 completed
8 years, 7 months ago
I took the course first time it was offered. I think it is a very interesting subject and was very happy that someone would teach the subject. The first week was fine he picked up where "Introduction to Computational Finance and Financial Econometrics" ended. Nice. The problem of the first assignment was also nice, next we had to use linux some python library. (A course which introduce students to open source software, very nice). All in all a very good start. But then the course started to fall apart. Because the professor hadn't prepared the material in advance. He though he could wing it and make the material as the courses went along. The rest of the lectures was very low on contents.
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mike step profile image
mike step profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
8 years, 5 months ago
I had no experience in computational investing, some experience in programming (none in Python) Liked Most -I liked the down to earth videos by Dr. Balch, easy to understand. -You get tools , in the second class you get a useful event analyzer..worth the course The second time was the charm, I took it first but took 1/2 the course to get the software installed correctly and I dropped. The second time the installation is much easier. The second course video was much improved, Im sure a third offering will be excellent and if Im not busy I will take it again. You will have to have some experience in Python, I got mine for the second course by taking the google python tutorial.before the start
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Bob Wake profile image
Bob Wake profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 2 completed
8 years, 5 months ago
I had no Python experience, so this course was a bit challenging at first. Good materials, well presented but some videos were a mess. I am much more comfortable with the tools of technical analysis now and have written a Python package to manage our personal finances.
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Duncan Murray profile image
Duncan Murray profile image
7/10 starsCompleted
  • 25 reviews
  • 24 completed
8 years, 6 months ago
This is quite a hands on / practical course - it gives you the tools and practice to build some programs to analyse the stock market. The lecturer seems to know what he is talking about, and comes across as a business teacher rather than an academic - not a bad thing in itself, but sometimes there are gaps in the explanations. If you are interested in getting started in this field, I would recommend this course, but be prepared for some extra work. I have a good programming background and found the assignments quite hard. This may have been my lack of experience with python / stock markets but I spent a lot of time trying to work out what seemed like basic coding issues (like, what the hell does this line *do* ) Having said that, I had no trouble setting up the environment and libraries - the first assignment takes you through this and validates that you have it all installed. PROS \- interesting topic \- you write a program to actua... This is quite a hands on / practical course - it gives you the tools and practice to build some programs to analyse the stock market. The lecturer seems to know what he is talking about, and comes across as a business teacher rather than an academic - not a bad thing in itself, but sometimes there are gaps in the explanations. If you are interested in getting started in this field, I would recommend this course, but be prepared for some extra work. I have a good programming background and found the assignments quite hard. This may have been my lack of experience with python / stock markets but I spent a lot of time trying to work out what seemed like basic coding issues (like, what the hell does this line *do* ) Having said that, I had no trouble setting up the environment and libraries - the first assignment takes you through this and validates that you have it all installed. PROS \- interesting topic \- you write a program to actually analyse the market CONS \- audio quality of lectures are too low to hear effectively on a smartphone \- later assignments not too clearly explained \- not a fan of the music at the start of every lecture (annoying when you watch a series all at once)
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cbrevard profile image
cbrevard profile image
6/10 starsDropped
  • 3 reviews
  • 2 completed
8 years, 7 months ago
Dealing with domain-specific Python library and it's output quickly became tedious. Course could have benefited from giving the class the big picture up front, showing the end-state in terms of student learning and ability.
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Tucker Balch profile image
Tucker Balch profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
8 years, 10 months ago
Hello, I'm the instructor of this course. I welcome constructive criticism, but I believe some of the reviews above aren't really helpful, and they're not consistent with responses we've gotten from students who we surveyed. I'd like to invite folks who are interested to take a look at the results of more than 2000 survey responses regarding this course here: http://wp.me/p11WgN-hW Sincerely, Tucker Balch PS, the system wouldn't let me exit without reviewing the course.
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Robert Jamison profile image
Robert Jamison profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
8 years, 10 months ago
This was the first version of this course offered. Some of the negative reviews were I think not quite fair. If you're experienced in finance, this course is not a good match. If you are seeking to learn that, and you have programming experience, it is a very good match. I really enjoyed learning about the various algorithms. The programming tasks were really informative.
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Fernando Montenegro profile image
Fernando Montenegro profile image
3/10 starsDropped
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
8 years, 8 months ago
While the subject was particularly interesting and the enthusiasm for MOOCs is high, I found this course to be poorly organized and very light on content. At the same I was taking this I was also taking Computational Finance (U.Washington) and the difference in depth was tremendous. I'm sure Professor Balch is extremely knowledgeable on his field, but playing around with intro music, making very short lectures, missing/delaying videos, etc... made for a poor experience. There were interesting tidbits early on, but I gave up on the course after Module 9 (Efficient Frontier), in late Nov/early Dec 2012. Unless the course has been significantly reviewed/improved, I'd be very hesitant to recommend it to another student.
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xasmx profile image
xasmx profile image
2/10 starsCompleted
  • 5 reviews
  • 5 completed
8 years, 9 months ago
This is not a college level course. The amount of material covered could have been fit into one or two college level lectures; even for MOOC standards where you generally have 1-2 hours of lectures a week, in this course you might have 15-20 minutes of lectures a week, with very light content. Additionally, the assignments in the course are poorly thought out (for couple of assignments, the assignment consisted of one radio button selection box with about 5 possible answers and infinite tries). I really wanted to like this course, because I find the subject matter fascinating, but at least in it's initial installment I find it hard to say many positive things about the course.
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Michael profile image
Michael profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
8 years, 9 months ago
This was a very interactive course. The lectures are not too long like other Finance courses with over 2 hour lectures per week. Tucker is a great lecturer who can explain the subject in an interesting manner. I have tried doing 3 Finance courses online and this is the one I enjoyed the most so far.
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Andrea Mitchell profile image
Andrea Mitchell profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
8 years, 10 months ago
I took this course in Fall 2012. It was a pragmatic and engaging course, and it did not shy away from introducing complex financial concepts. At first I felt that we went at a slow pace but when reflecting back I am proud of what I have learned. The introduction to finance principles was clear and interesting. I enjoyed it a lot. I felt that the projects were well organized and they flowed well from one to another. By the end of the course we had created a market simulator that we could use to test different strategies. While, I agree with other reviewers that it would have been better if there were more frequent projects, I still find it compelling that the projects were so engaging and practical. AN interesting project is hard to come by in an educational course. EVEN 1 compelling project can worthwhile - and that is true for this course! Great course, I will look for other courses taught by Prof. Balch.
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Damian Grant profile image
Damian Grant profile image
6/10 starsTaking Now
  • 6 reviews
  • 5 completed
9 years ago
In it's first iteration, this course is definitely a work in progress. Production quality on the videos is quite poor (volume very low), material is late arriving, not much material covered. The assignments have also had problems so far - one peer reviewed assignment that was hard to grade (screenshots of excel spreadsheets are hard to check numbers on!), and one automated one that was quite picky and required forum interaction to work out what subtle line of code was missing. Difficulty is low so far - although you do need to know Python (or spend a bit of time getting to grip with some code). The professor engages a little in the forums, and has (for lack of other material) posted a video of responses to some questions posed in the forums. He's said that he'll take on board criticisms and offer an improved version of this course sometime in early 2013, followed by Part 2 of the course.
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Alan Williams profile image
Alan Williams profile image
6/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
9 years ago
This is a great course on a great topic. However, the teacher is very late with all of his posts and doesn't live up to promises. (He posted "New videos in week four coming out tonight", it is now almost noon the day after, and I live in his timezone.) He has repeated this act several times. Otherwise, great class!
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Vadim Solomonik profile image
Vadim Solomonik profile image
2/10 starsCompleted
  • 6 reviews
  • 6 completed
8 years, 5 months ago
Tucker Balch sucks. He is a bad professor to begin with, but he also decided to start a course with no preparations at all. This is definitely the worst class at coursera and a big blow to the reputation of Georgia Institute of Technology.
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