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Building Algorithmic Trading Systems: A Trader's Journey From Data Mining to Monte Carlo Simulation to Live Trading, + Website by Kevin J. Davey

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CHAPTER 1 The Birth of a Trader

It was 1989, and I was California dreamin’. Actually I wasn’t dreaming, I was already in California, living a young single man’s dream. A year or so out of college, I was residing in sunny Manhattan Beach, California, with a small apartment three blocks from the soft white sand so wonderful that they used it to help create Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. I had graduated the year before, summa cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan, a top-tier engineering school. Then I had turned my back on Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech), Stanford University, Purdue University, and Michigan, all of whom had accepted me in their aerospace master’s degree program. I turned down those great schools to live and work in sunny California, a lifelong dream.

I still remember the precise moment I made that fateful decision. On a bitterly cold winter’s day in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I was walking down South University Avenue to one of my final-semester classes. The wind was blowing so hard in my face that I actually leaned into the wind to see if it would keep me up. At that point, falling face-first onto the ice-covered sidewalk would not have been much worse than feeling the stinging wind in my face. What seemed like a gale-force wind kept me upright, and then I knew—I did not want, or need, to live where it was cold in the winter when aerospace engineering graduates ...

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