Finance

Aladdin, the Artificial Intelligence that manages 18 Trillion Dollars in Assets

Summary

Aladdin (Asset, Liability, Debt and Derivative Investment Network) is an electronic system of BlackRock Solutions, the risk management division of the world’s largest investment management firm, BlackRock, Inc. In 2019, this AI manages $18 trillion in assets (Haberly, D et al., 2019), more than 7% of global financial assets, and monitors approximately 30,000 investment portfolios.

Aladdin uses the following technologies: Julia, Linux, Java, Hadoop, Docker, Kubernetes, Zookeeper, Splunk, ELK, Git, Apache, Nginx, Sybase, Cognos, FIX, Swift, REST, AngularJS, TREP.

BlackRock has recruited a special team called Scientific Active Equity (SAE), in San Francisco. More than a hundred researchers and computer scientists, from Google and NASA, using super-powerful servers to analyze Internet search data (in particular that used on Google, i.e. an average of 4 million Internet searches launched every minute every day throughout the world) to help it in its investment decisions.

What is the Key Technology Behind this Artificial Intelligence?

BlackRock: Using Julia for its next-generation analytics platform

What is Julia

Julia is a high level, powerful and dynamic programming language for scientific computation, with a syntax familiar to users of other similar development environments (Matlab, R, Scilab, Python, etc.). It provides a sophisticated compiler, a system of dynamic types with parameterized polymorphism, distributed parallel execution, direct calls of C, Fortran, and Python functions (Fieker, Claus, et al, 2017).

Julia Programming Language

According to JuliaComputing :

“BlackRock quants have been using Julia since 2014. They have been greatly impressed with the performance gains, ease of use, and single-language deployment capabilities.

BlackRock has written analytics modules for its flagship product Aladdin in Julia, and uses Julia for time series data analytics and big data applications.

BlackRock was a Platinum Sponsor of JuliaCon 2015 and spoke at length at this conference about why they love Julia.”

References

Haberly, D., MacDonald-Korth, D., Urban, M. and Wójcik, D., 2019. Asset management as a digital platform industry: A global financial network perspective. Geoforum106, pp.167-181.

Fieker, C., Hart, W., Hofmann, T. and Johansson, F., 2017, July. Nemo/Hecke: computer algebra and number theory packages for the Julia programming language. In Proceedings of the 2017 acm on international symposium on symbolic and algebraic computation (pp. 157-164).

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