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Frequently Asked Questions
What is EXPO?
EXPO is the most powerful analytics and decision support platform available today for professional traders, analysts, and portfolio managers. The growth in popularity of EXPO has paralleled the rise in use of derivatives products in the financial markets and the corresponding need for advanced math and statistical capabilities for pricing and decision support. While in the past, simple charting capabilities sufficed for the majority of traders, todayís competitive environment is seeing the arrival of traders who require and demand the most advanced math and statistical tools to support their trading decisions. Furthermore, they need to be able to develop strategies based on models built and tested using tens of thousands of data points. Charting packages canít meet these demands. The EXPO analytics platform can.
What does "Open Analytics" mean and why is it important to users?
The driving business need for "Open Analyticsô" is the ability to effectively compete, win, and profit in todayís fast-changing markets. Todayís capital markets analytics users demand and require freedom of choice. They want immediate access to any data they need, including in-house proprietary data. They expect the on-going freedom to choose whatever hardware platform and operating system best meets their business requirements. They want to be able to use the same analytics regardless of the data distribution platform they are using. When they need new analytics to keep up with changing market opportunities, they donít want to have to wait for a vendor to deliver or for the in-house programming staff to schedule development time. And to minimize support costs, they would like to have an analytics solution that meets the widest possible range of user needs from quant analysts and the most sophisticated traders to traders who only need simple charting capabilities. EXPO is the only analytics platform on the market today that can meet all of these needs.
What is the difference between EXPO and my spreadsheet? Do I need both?
EXPO is an analytics and decision support platform that was specifically designed to handle real-time and historical financial time-series and an unlimited number of data points. It provides the advanced math, econometrics, and statistics capabilities that traders and other capital markets professionals increasingly need to compete in the market. Unlike spreadsheets whose cell-based structure is optimal for accounting and book-keeping functions, EXPO was designed from the ground up to allow users to graphically view and manipulate financial time series with unlimited numbers of data points using vector math and the most advanced analytical tools available. EXPOís use of vector math manipulates time-series data as an entire vector rather than a collection of individual cells, each with a single data point in it, as is the case with spreadsheets. EXPOís application of vector math makes it easier and faster to manipulate large numbers of data points and reduces the risk of errors from mis-specifying cell ranges, etc. From a userís perspective, EXPO and spreadsheets provide very different but complementary capabilities. Users increasingly require an analytics platform for advanced decision support as well as a spreadsheet for simple price calculations and book-keeping functions.
How important is open access to data?
The amount of data required to support trading decisions in todayís markets is increasing exponentially. There is a demand to access not only external sources of data like Bloomberg, but to also be able to get at and use in-house, proprietary data. In many cases, before EXPO users found it difficult or impossible to access in-house data. Furthermore, accessing multiple data sources often meant having multiple terminals crowding for precious desktop space. This made it difficult to fully employ the data resources that were available. In contrast, EXPOís open data API allows users to access virtually any data they need - whether it is in-house data sitting on an SQL database, external data from Bloomberg, or Internet/Intranet-based data. EXPO comes already equipped with a wide range of pre-built data interfaces plus, using EXPOís open data API, IT organizations can quickly provide access to any other data source a user may need for their work.
What were users doing for custom analytics before EXPO? If I buy EXPO can I continue to use the analytics I have already developed?
In the past, most firms have typically used C, C++, or other traditional programming languages to develop proprietary, custom analytics for deployment to their traders, analysts and sales people. Development can take weeks if not months before an analytic is finally ready to be deployed and used. This development model has become an increasingly big problem with a growing scarcity of programming talent as well as the collapsing of opportunity windows. With EXPO, custom analytics that might have previously taken weeks or months to develop can be developed in a matter of minutes or hours using EXPOís powerful macro language, the XPL programming language, and EXPOís extensive math and statistics library. And developing custom analytics with EXPO does not require an experienced, specialized programming staff. EXPO has been designed to make development of customized analytics as simple and straightforward as possible. Furthermore, once a new analytic is developed by one user on EXPO it can be instantly deployed to every EXPO user at the desk, on the floor or firm-wide. And existing analytics developed with C or C++ can be bound into EXPO, making them easily and immediately accessible to every user. With EXPO, firms are able to better leverage scarce human capital.
What is the difference between EXPO and math packages?
While math packages provide some of the tools that EXPO makes available, they were never intended to be used in a "develop and deploy" environment. Nor were they designed to deal with the unique problems of financial time series data, such as missing data, holidays and market closings, and the random nature of tick data. Most math packages assume regular arrays of data. In contrast, EXPO has been expressly designed to elegantly deal with all of the problems of financial markets data so that users donít have to.
In addition to not being designed to handle financial markets data, math packages do not provide the data distribution platform and data source interfaces that come built in to EXPO. EXPO comes fully equipped with pre-built interfaces to every major data distribution platform as well as all of the major sources of real-time and historical financial time-series data. EXPOís open data API makes it easy for firms to use EXPO with virtually any internal or external source of data.
Math packages may make sense for individual users, but EXPO provides a firm-wide solution to analytics development and deployment that the math packages canít match.
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