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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.

< The 2016 Tech 5019Neil KatzManaging DirectorD.E. Shaw & Co.Last year: 20

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 Click below to view profiles
1. Catherine
Bank of America Corp.2. Jeffrey SprecherIntercontinental Exchange3. Lance UgglaMarkit4. Phupinder GillCME Group5. Shawn Edwards and Vlad KliatchkoBloomberg6. R. Martin ChavezGoldman Sachs Group
7. Robert GoldsteinBlackRock8. Adena FriedmanNasdaq9. Deborah HopkinsCiti Ventures10. Daniel ColemanKCG Holdings11. Stephen NeffFidelity Investments12. David CraigThomson Reuters
13. Michael SpencerICAP14. Michael BodsonDepository Trust & Clearing Corp. 15. Charles LiHong Kong Exchanges and Clearing16. Chris ConcannonBATS Global Markets17. Blythe MastersDigital Asset Holdings18. David RutterR3CEV
19. Neil KatzD.E. Shaw & Co.20. Lee OleskyTradeweb Markets21. Richard McVeyMarketAxess Holdings22. Seth MerrinLiquidnet Holdings23. Robert AlexanderCapital One Financial Corp.24. Brad KatsuyamaIEX Group
25. Antoine ShagouryState Street Corp.26. David GledhillDBS Bank27. Lou EcclestonTMX Group28. Andreas PreussDeutsche BÖrse29. Dan SchulmanPayPal Holdings30. Scott DillonWells Fargo & Co.
31. Mike ChinnS&P Global Market Intelligence32. Craig DonohueOptions Clearing Corp.33. Gary NorcrossFidelity National Information Services34. Steven O'HanlonNumerix35. Sebastián CeriaAxioma36. Michael CooperBT Radianz
37. Tyler KimMaplesFS38. Neal PawarAQR Capital Management39. David HardingWinton Capital Management40. Chris CorradoLondon Stock Exchange Group41. Brian ConlonFirst Derivatives42. Jim MinnickeVestment
43. Stephane DuboisXignite44. Mazy DarOpenFin45. Yasuki OkaiNRI Holdings America46. Kim FournaisSaxo Bank47. Jock PercyPerseus48. Robert SchifelliteBroadridge Financial Solutions
49. Brian SentanceXenomorph Software50. Pieter van der DoesAdyen