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The 2016 Tech 50: Neil Katz

The D.E. Shaw managing director jumps to No. 19 on this year’s Tech 50 ranking.

  • By Peter Vasiliev

19
Neil Katz
Managing Director
D.E. Shaw & Co.

Neil Katz took his first programming class at the age of ten and has loved playing with computers ever since. Today, as managing director of D.E. Shaw & Co., overseeing more than 250 technologists at the $37 billion alternative-investment firm, Katz indulges his fondness for hacking on Friday evenings. “I’ll find a little piece of our software that has a rough edge to it, and I’ll polish that edge because writing code remains one of my great pleasures,” the 44-year-old says. “As we’ve replaced our older technology with newer, more efficient software, we’ve saved time and generated happiness among the team,” he adds. To that end, D.E. Shaw’s developers are embedded alongside the quantitative researchers in the multistrategy firm’s various investment units rather than working as part of a central information technology group. “We get huge benefits from that,” says Katz, who joined New York–based D.E. Shaw in 1994 after graduating from Stanford University with a BS in electrical engineering and a BA in quantitative economics. During the past year Katz’s developers have been working on ways to process enormous amounts of data chronologically after it has been collected. “We’ve been developing systems to allow us to process this chronological data at scale, which has allowed us to go beyond standard modeling to explore the data for patterns,” he explains. Although D.E. Shaw historically has avoided cloud computing because it can do things more cheaply using its own data centers and proprietary technology, Katz says the firm is starting to look at how it could transform its systems to efficiently use cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services as they come down in price: “The idea is to get this to the point where if our quants want to use 100,000 machines right now to deal with a data set that is astronomically large, they can do that and it will be an advantage.”

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The 2016 Tech 50
1. Catherine
Bessant
Bank of America Corp.
2. Jeffrey Sprecher
Intercontinental Exchange
3. Lance Uggla
Markit
4. Phupinder Gill
CME Group
5. Shawn Edwards and Vlad Kliatchko
Bloomberg
6. R. Martin Chavez
Goldman Sachs Group
7. Robert Goldstein
BlackRock
8. Adena Friedman
Nasdaq
9. Deborah Hopkins
Citi Ventures
10. Daniel Coleman
KCG Holdings
11. Stephen Neff
Fidelity Investments
12. David Craig
Thomson Reuters
13. Michael Spencer
ICAP
14. Michael Bodson
Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.
15. Charles Li
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
16. Chris Concannon
BATS Global Markets
17. Blythe Masters
Digital Asset Holdings
18. David Rutter
R3CEV
19. Neil Katz
D.E. Shaw & Co.
20. Lee Olesky
Tradeweb Markets
21. Richard McVey
MarketAxess Holdings
22. Seth Merrin
Liquidnet Holdings
23. Robert Alexander
Capital One Financial Corp.
24. Brad Katsuyama
IEX Group
25. Antoine Shagoury
State Street Corp.
26. David Gledhill
DBS Bank
27. Lou Eccleston
TMX Group
28. Andreas Preuss
Deutsche BÖrse
29. Dan Schulman
PayPal Holdings
30. Scott Dillon
Wells Fargo & Co.
31. Mike Chinn
S&P Global Market Intelligence
32. Craig Donohue
Options Clearing Corp.
33. Gary Norcross
Fidelity National Information Services
34. Steven O'Hanlon
Numerix
35. Sebastián Ceria
Axioma
36. Michael Cooper
BT Radianz
37. Tyler Kim
MaplesFS
38. Neal Pawar
AQR Capital Management
39. David Harding
Winton Capital Management
40. Chris Corrado
London Stock Exchange Group
41. Brian Conlon
First Derivatives
42. Jim Minnick
eVestment
43. Stephane Dubois
Xignite
44. Mazy Dar
OpenFin
45. Yasuki Okai
NRI Holdings America
46. Kim Fournais
Saxo Bank
47. Jock Percy
Perseus
48. Robert Schifellite
Broadridge Financial Solutions
49. Brian Sentance
Xenomorph Software
50. Pieter van der Does
Adyen

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