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The 2017 Tech 40: Alfred Spector

< The 2017 Tech 4020. Alfred SpectorChief Technology OfficerTwo Sigma InvestmentsLast year: PNR

In hot pursuit of computer science and engineering graduates to help fulfill their fintech ambitions, top financial companies are often competing against the Silicon Valley allure of Apple, Facebook, and Google. None have scored a coup quite like Two Sigma Investments' October 2015 hire of Alfred Spector as chief technology officer. He joined the data-science-driven hedge fund firm after nearly eight years as Google's vice president of research and special initiatives. But Spector, 62, had an impressive career even before Google. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University and was a member of the IBM-Carnegie Mellon team that in the 1980s developed the Andrew File System, a highly scalable distributed file system and precursor of cloud storage, which won the Association of Computing Machinery's 2016 Software Systems Award. He proudly describes the honor as "a big deal in tech."

Two Sigma, founded in 2001 and with $45 billion in assets, is presenting new challenges to Spector. "It is an enormously interesting problem to use all manner of information with the goal of optimizing economic outcomes," he says. Outside the world of computing, 23 years ago he set a goal of running 25,000 miles — approximately equal to one time around the earth — within 25 years. At the time of a recent conversation he had 1,785 miles to go and was on schedule to finish early.


 The 2017 Tech 40Click below to view profiles
1. Adena FriedmanNASDAQ2. Catherine BessantBank of
America Corp.3. Robert GoldsteinBlackRock4. Jeffrey SprecherIntercontinental Exchange5. Lance UgglaIHS Markit
6. Shawn Edwards & Vlad KliatchkoBloomberg7. David CraigThomson Reuters8. Michael SpencerNEX Group9. Don CallahanCitigroup10. Elisha WieselGoldman Sachs Group
11. Michael BodsonDepository Trust & Clearing Corp.12. Terrence DuffyCME Group13. Charles LiHong Kong Exchanges and Clearing14. Sean BelkaFidelity Investments15. Chris ConcannonCBOE Holdings
16. Guy ChiarelloFirst Data Corp.17. Steven LieblichCitadel18. David RutterR3CEV19. Blythe MastersDigital Asset Holdings20. Alfred SpectorTwo Sigma Investments
21. Neil KatzD.E. Shaw Group22. Lee OleskyTradeweb Markets23. Richard McVeyMarketAxess Holdings24. David GledhillDBS Bank25. Seth MerrinLiquidnet Holdings
26. Antoine ShagouryState Street Corp.27. Peter Brown &
Robert Mercer
Renaissance Technologies28. Lou EcclestonTMX Group29. Peter CherecwichNorthern Trust Corp.30. Mike ChinnS&P Global Market Intelligence
31. Chris CorradoLondon Stock Exchange Group32. Neal PawarAQR Capital Management33. Gary NorcrossFidelity National Information Services34. Steven O'HanlonNumerix35. Sebastián CeriaAxioma
36. Brian ConlonFirst Derivatives and Kx Systems37. Tyler KimMaplesFS38. Michael CooperBT Radianz39. Robert SchifelliteBroadridge Financial Solutions40. Jim MinnickeVestment