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Waters Magazine: Flying By Wire August 1, 2008

Posted by newyorkscot in Agile, Articles, HPC, Marketing, Markets, Other.
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Waters Magazine has just published my article “Flying By Wire” in its Open Platform section of the August issue. The article discusses how advanced trading systems need better control systems to dependably innovate and take new opportunities to market. I draw an analogy between trading systems and modern jet aircraft where stability, performance and control are essential characteristics that need to be considered during design, development and testing. Read the article on the Lab49 website here.


Great British Venn (Euler) Diagram March 18, 2008

Posted by newyorkscot in Other, Visualization / UX.
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OK… this is for all of my American friends who still need to figure out a) whether I am Scottish, British or a United Kingdom citizen, b) what NOT to call me!


How walkable is your (company’s) neighborhood ? January 4, 2008

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Joel On Software has this post on “How walkable is your neighborhood?” Out of 100, Microsoft’s campus gets 31, Googleplex gets 34, Joel’s company gets 98.

But Lab49, gets 100 out of 100……

1st Annual JPMC IBTech Golf Outing October 17, 2007

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I had the good fortune to attend the 1st Annual JPMC IBTech golf outing on Monday which was organized to help raise money for a fantastic charity, China Care.

China Care is an organization that raises awareness for and offers direct assistance to hundreds of babies and children in China that have either been abandoned and/or are in desperate need of medical attention. The great thing about this charity is that every single dollar goes directly to aid these childeren – all the overheads of the charity are funded separately by the board of directors. Even better, you can specify which “proposal” your money goes to: whether you want to help a family foster a child,  help fund an orphanage, or pay for a specific child’s medical treatment, the decision is yours. The founder of China Care, Matt Dalio (son of Ray Dalio the founder of Bridgewater Associates – one of the largest hedge finds in the US) , also came to the event to show his appreciation and to tell us about the history of the charity. A remarkable story (and presentation) that clearly tugged at everyone’s heart strings. And what really struck me was a) how much we all take for granted our health and comfort, and b) how many lives can be positively affected/saved by only a few cycles of our time and few extra bucks (I know, not exactly Churchillian)

The golf event itself was a remarkable achievement by the executives at JPMC – they organized it in only a month; arranged fantastic weather (!); many vendors chipped in a LOT of money to sponsor holes, fund lunch & dinner, etc; and, many generous gifts that were donated and raffled/auctioned off. Lab49 was in the mix with us providing “commemorative” water bottles for everyone who attended. The generosity across all JPMC staff and vendor polulation was staggering. It was also good to see a lot of the top JPMC execs turning out to promote and support the event.

Apart from a lovely day on the golf course (and my team making a podium appearance in 3rd place with a 7 under par score, only 1 shot off the winners), the real punchline is that all in all the event raised somewhere around the $90,000 mark. That will fund 2 orphanages (for 60 kids) for a year, or pay for 20+ adoptions, or life-saving medical operations for hundreds of kids.

Malaria Grid Project July 21, 2006

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We are all aware of financial institutions using grid networks to provide massive amounts of compute power to run complex risk calculations and simulations  …. but here is an interesting way to be part of a grid project yourself: Africa-at-home runs projects to allow computers across the world to contribute to African humanitarian causes, the first of which is MalariaControl.net, an application that models the way malaria spreads in Africa and the potential impact that new anti-malarial drugs may have on the region.

This is another example of “volunteer computing”, the largest of which is the SETI project which hooks up computers across the internet to analyse the data of the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, searching for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. BOINC was the originator of many of these projects.

Moving On .. May 3, 2006

Posted by newyorkscot in Other.
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I have decided to leave my current employer, Finetix, for pastures new. The main driver behind this is the birth of my baby girl a month ago which really put things into perspective for me: Why do we work and who do we work for ?

My doorman said something to me the other week that took me aback and really got me thinking: “You know Mr Hamilton, you can always make money, but you can never get the time back with your baby”. Wow.

To be honest, I need a change in role, responsibilities, career, etc, so with the nice weather and this change in perspective, now seemed like the natural and perfect time to make a break: it takes a lot to top hanging out with new family, sunshine, lots of golf, etc.

The last three years at Finetix has certainly been interesting and satisfying on a number of levels. I believe I have made many contributions and changes to the way the company is run, the way we look after our employees, the way we structure and execute projects (including the risk management side of things), the adoption of more formal agile approaches to projects, better control and visibility into the quality and finances of projects, etc. Of course, it has also been a rollercoaster ride filled with disagreements, disappointments and in some cases fundamental philosophical differences. I wish Finetix and its employees all the best, as they really do have some of the very best employees: I have never come across such a technically talented and dedicated bunch of people. I hope that I will get to work with many of them again.

So, what’s next (after family-time) ?

There are a few things that have always interested me. I am at heart an engineer (albeit in Aerospace, rather than Computer Science!) and love to build things. Design and delivery are very important to me, as is continuing to understand technology and its application to solutions. I really enjoy working with intelligent, thoughtful, articulate and considerate people. I have always enjoyed the marketing of technical solutions and/or products (hence my previous job working for myself helping emerging technology companies bring their products/services to market). Of course, Financial Services is a fascinating domain, and for me in particular risk management has been a big part of my career in FS. Finally, I think that the strategy of a company and its execution is highly rewarding and something I will always want to be a contributor to. So, any opportunity to combine these areas could have the potential of being the perfect job.

Updates, thoughts and progress will be posted as soon as I have had time to apply any brain-power to them, but only after I get back to playing to (or improving) my golf handicap..

Flashback: Rolls-Royce Aerospace July 21, 2005

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I was really glad to see that Rolls-Royce Aerospace recently announced plans to build a new overhaul plant in Scotland. I used to work at this specialist plant while studying Aerospace Engineering at university. At that time, post cold-war, the defence industry was weakening and many RR jobs were being threatened (RR builds a lot of defence engines, like the one used in the Harrier “jump-jet”). This was when I decided to get into IT and the Financial Services industry, and specifically to join JPMC in London, so RR really was the first step to where I am today. Personally, this is/was a cool plant to work in — you got to see all the leading civil and defence engines, hands-on, and got to see how they test them (yes, the old throw frozen chicken at it story – no-one seemed to point out the fact that a frozen chicken, dead or alive, cannot fly at 37,000 ft, or sea level for that metter!). Btw — this is the engine I was most inolved in – a joint venture with Pratt & Whitney, and we had to redesign the fuel system to make it more environmentally friendly.From a business perspective, this is an interesting move on RR’s part. In the early 90s everything was being moved south and consolidated as RR tried to save money, improve efficiencies, etc. That fact that this plant is going to be replaced/upgraded to a new plant, is fantastic news and a true testament to what they do there. At the time, it was all doom and gloom and the risks associated with being able to have a career there influenced my decisions then, and where I am now, personally and professionally. Brilliant news for RR and the local economy – I wish them all the best.