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.
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