Tradecision V 2.1.67
4432-E Enterprise Street
Fremont, CA 94538
(888) 862-2759; (347) 416-6083
Overall Rating: 1 out of 4 Discs
System Requirements: Windows XP or Windows 2000; 512 Megs of RAM; 2GHZ Pentium 4 Processor or compatible. A third-party data feed for end-of-day historical and/or real-time quotes. Supported real-time vendors include eSignal, IQFeed and Interactive Brokers. Supported end-of-day vendors include CSI, any ascii formatted text file, Worden Brothers and Yahoo finance.
Cost: The cost depends on edition; there are four: $498 for Lite, $698 for Standard, $1198 for Professional and $1598 for Real-Time.
In recent years there has been a flood of new charting and analytical products offering a twist in analytical capabilities along with a lower cost. Tradecision from Alyuda Research, first released in 2001, attempts to differentiate itself from its competitors by offering an easy to use neural-net capability.
Neural-nets are a type of artificial intelligence used to mine data to identify hidden trading patterns. Most of the AI products featuring neural-net capabilities are far more expensive than Tradecision. This makes the product very tantalizing to those on a budget.
Installation and data: 1 Disc
The product does not ship with its own data source, so, depending on where you get your data, it can require two to five steps to install. First, you need to install the core product. Then, you need to install the license file, which is sent via e-mail. You also will need to install your third-party real-time data source. IQFeed, eSignal and Interactive Brokers are supported. I tried the product using both IQfeed and eSignal. Overall it was fairly easy to install.
Before the product can be used to create a chart, symbol definitions must be created and data imported into the product’s Data Manager database. This was the beginning of a long list of frustrations. To start, each symbol definition needed to be created manually. There is a “batch import” capability if you have symbols in a text file but that was only useful for stocks where many symbols had common properties. I also had to create two different symbols for each market: one for intraday data and one for daily data.
After creating a few symbols, I tried to pull up intraday data for the S&Ps for the last five years. No-go. The first data feed provided by the company, IQFeed, did not seem to support data that went that far back nor did they provide continuous contracts of any kind. Alyuda itself did not provide a historical database, which seemed bizarre considering a key differentiating feature of the product is its ability to mine historical data and simulate trading strategies. After alerting Alyuda, they switched out the feed and replaced it with eSignal. I reset my symbols to match eSignal and was finally able to see a long-term intraday chart of the S&Ps. On the plus side, the product does import data from any text file so historical data from reputable companies such as CSI and Tickdata can be used.
Charting: 1 Disc
Charts have the usual complement of basic features you’d expect. Different chart types such as candlesticks, bar charts and line charts are supported but tick charts are not. Basic Fib retracement tools, trendline, Elliot-wave and Gann tools are provided.
The usual drawing tools are provided but new chart windows always opened full screen regardless of whether or not the other charts were maximized. So, an extra click is needed to bring the new chart window back into the Windows MDI container and you cannot change the symbol in an existing chart window, which is a very important function for day traders. I had a hard time using some of the drawing tools because the starting point of a drawing object would be nowhere near where I clicked my mouse. The left and right extensions on trend lines were not clearly identified and it was tough to move the objects.
Real-time charting was problematic. There were quite a few instances where the quotes lagged the real market, sometimes by several minutes. I also had a problem with identifying the last price on my chart; there is no update indicator on the axis or at the top of the chart that shows the last price. Every time I wanted to know what the last price printed was, I had to click on the last bar on the chart. You can, however, manually insert “buy” and “sell” markers to mark your entry and exit spots.
Indicators and trading tools: 1 Disc
About 90 pre-built indicators are provided. These include RSI, rate of change, stochastics, CCI and ADX. I had no problems adding indicators to the charts, but you can only insert one indicator at a time. Further, once an indicator is plotted, you cannot move it back onto the price chart if it has been plotted in a subchart below the price chart. You have to remove it and add it again.
You can, however, write your own indicators with the included scripting language called Improvian. Tradecision lacks some of the standard set of tools most traders need in their charting software. There are no quote pages or grids and market depth is not provided. Therefore, despite the real-time capabilities, it would be extremely hard to use the product for serious day trading especially if you’re trading a basket of stocks. Also, there is no ability to link charts together. I usually have three or four time frames up at the same time and I had to change each chart’s symbol individually.
Alerts can be created but you need to be familiar with Tradecision’s programming/scripting language, Improvian. Because the language seems to be full featured, you can build some very powerful alerts. However, no samples are provided so you’re left to your own devices to figure out the details using the reference manuals provided.
Selecting the option to create an alert brought up a dialog box that allowed me to type in the alert function. There were some helper panes here but nothing that would be useful to a beginner unless he/she were familiar with a programming language. I created a simple alert to detect when the CCI hit an overbought level on certain symbols. However, the program often crashed with an “Unknown Fatal Error” message as I was editing the alert or upon start up where it seemed the alert caused the crash. One of the biggest impediments I found to using the product was the lack of keyboard short cuts. Almost everything had to be done using the mouse, either to click an icon or to call up a dialog box.
Neural Networks and Strategies and simulations: 1 Disc
It was easy to create and train a neural network from built-in functions, once you got the hang of it, by reading the tutorials and understanding the basics of the Improvian programming language.
There is a difference between a neural network model and a strategy. The neural model is the tool that identifies a potentially tradable pattern. A strategy takes that pattern and applies money management and other rules to it in order to create something that can be traded where the risk is controlled. A simulation is a strategy that has been applied to historical data. The simulation manager in the product allows you to take a strategy and apply it to a portfolio of symbols. You also can create a simulation whereby a group of strategies is applied to one or more symbols.
Once a simulation has been run, you can review the historical performance results for an individual symbol, a group of symbols or all symbols. “Charting a strategy,” left, shows a composite of a chart with a strategy applied and the simulation manager. I really liked structure of the simulation manager and the ease of use in creating strategy portfolios. However, a flaw for strategies and simulations is the point value: The product does not use the point value in the symbol definition. Instead, you have to edit each symbol in the simulation manually to input a point value or leave the default of “1” in place.
The software supports a decent number of data feeds and data sources but the product is unstable. I spent as much time shutting down and restarting the product or the machine as I did using it. The issues ranged from losing entire workspaces and layouts because the product refused to open if even a single symbol was missing from the database, to frequent random crashes. After communicating with the company, they managed to identify a few issues in the code that will be fixed in the next release.
As for this version, it’s not ready for prime time. It has potential but as it stands it will only be useful to traders who require an AI and back-testing tool but could not afford the other pricier tools. If the company can get the stability issues fixed, a lot of end-of-day users and intraday traders who only trade a couple of times a day would probably be happy to use the program even with the other quirks.
Nigel Bahadur runs the research and development group for LBRGroup. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.lbrgroup.com.