Mathematical Logic Finds Unexpected Application on Wall Street
In an unexpected development for the depressed market for mathematical logicians, Wall Street has begun quietly and aggressively recruiting proof theorists and recursion theorists for their expertise in applying ordinal notations and ordinal collapsing functions to high-frequency algorithmic trading. An ordinal notation system is used to name each ordinal in a certain initial subsequence of the countable ordinals; such systems have recently been applied by elite trading operations to the parameterization of families of trading strategies of breathtaking sophistication. Ordinal notation high-frequency trading algorithms, also called ordinal arbitrage systems, pit their strategies against similar algorithmic opponents on electronic exchanges for a few fleeting seconds, during which thousands of trades are executed, including exploratory trades that test the strategies of opposing human and machine traders.
The monetary advantage of the current strategy is rapidly exhausted after a lifetime of approximately four seconds–an eternity for a machine, but barely enough time for a human to begin to comprehend what happened. The algorithm then switches to another trading strategy of higher ordinal rank, and uses this for a few seconds on one or more electronic exchanges, and so on, while opponent algorithms attempt the same maneuvers, risking billions of dollars in the process.
The elusive and highly coveted positions for proof theorists on Wall Street, where they are known as trans-quantitative analysts, have not been advertised, to the chagrin of executive recruiters who work on commission. Elite hedge funds and bank holding companies have been discreetly approaching mathematical logicians who have programming experience and who are familiar with arcane software such as the ordinal calculator. A few logicians were offered seven figure salaries, according to a source who was not authorized to speak on the matter.