Featured Contributions

Q&A PART II: ALEXEY GOLDIN TALKS STEM EDUCATION

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In part II of our Q&A with Teza employee Alexey Goldin, Alexey discusses STEM education and offers advice for young people interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Make sure to check out part I of the conversation if you haven’t already seen it.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background in STEM?

I’ve been interested in physics since I was around 12 or 13 years old. There were a lot of popular publications back in the USSR where I grew up promoting math and science for kids, and some of them were quite high quality. I was going to Science Olympiads (they have similar U.S. events now) and I eventually managed to attend a high school in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, with a focus on science and math.  We had good teachers who had a lot of freedom in selecting curriculum, so I learned a lot there. I went on to attend the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (just like Misha Malyshev), and hoped to pursue a career in space research afterwards.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, there was very little money left for research. I decided to apply to some U.S. universities and graduate programs and was eventually accepted to the University of Chicago. There I worked on radio astronomy projects with highly interesting people. I focused on cosmic microwave background radiation—the oldest type of radiation in the universe—and built detectors and designed radio telescopes.

After graduating in 2000, I went on to work at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory for postdoctoral research. After shifts in funding caused cuts across many astrophysics programs, I switched gears to focus on the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM). After my time at SIM, and another round of funding cuts, I decided to switch gears yet again and ended up working in finance.

Do you have any advice for young people interested in pursuing a career in STEM?

First of all, science, math and engineering are incredibly interesting and fun. Would I still be dabbling in astronomy 12 years after giving up on a scientific career otherwise?  Secondly, science, math and engineering are great foundations for a career in our fast changing world. I managed to end up with a rewarding career surrounded by great people despite some setbacks along the way. My foundation in STEM was strong enough that I am doing challenging things that I had no idea existed when I started my career in science.

I know of many people who, with backgrounds similar to mine, became successful writers, business professionals, and company founders. Math, science and engineering open doors and teach you a different, more consistent and robust way of thinking, which can be applied to many situations.

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Q&A PART I: ALEXEY GOLDIN TALKS TABBY’S STAR

 The following is a Q&A with Teza employee, Alexey Goldin. Alexey’s work on Tabby’s Star has been creating some impressive buzz, so we asked him to discuss his research and how he got interested in the subject. Make sure to check back in for the second installment! 

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What is Tabby’s Star?

Tabby’s Star was accidentally detected by an exoplanet-seeking satellite. The star changes brightness a lot (at times dimming by much as 20 percent). There is no known physical explanation for why this star, which is so similar to our Sun, can change its brightness so drastically. The standard hypothesis is that something is occluding its light. The subject became popular when someone hypothesized that super-powerful aliens were building structures to collect star energy (similar to an unfinished Dyson sphere)!

I looked at the data carefully alongside Valeri Makarov of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., and we came to the conclusion that there is another weak, but probably unrelated, object close to this star’s line of sight. It is just accidentally there. We believe there is a lot of space junk (e.g., comets, some protoplanetary material) associated with that other, weak and almost invisible object that is occluding Tabby’s Star. It’s not as fun as aliens, but it is more likely.

Can you tell us about how you conducted the research?\

Valeri is my former colleague. We worked together on SIM mission. Before that I did not have experience with astrometry and optical astronomy –this was entirely new field for me. As a result, Valeri and I worked closely together — he did most of the astronomy work while I focused on data analysis — to produce a series of articles beginning around 2007.

Why are you interested in Tabby’s Star?

This kind of work is interesting and exciting to me generally, even when we work with less famous objects. But I also find that this type of work is more pertinent to my role at Teza than you may think. To find a relevant trading signal we have to go through a large amount of data to find a weak signal. Astronomers (especially ones looking for exoplanets) often have to do the same.

ASAS STEM CAMPUS EVENT LETS OUR EMPLOYEES GIVE BACK

This is a guest post by two Teza employees, Kelly and Lou, about their recent volunteer experience at After-School All-Stars STEM CampUs event, sponsored by Teza Technologies. STEM CampUs is a five-day immersion program that prepares at-risk eight graders for high school and encourages them to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Teza Technologies and Misha Malyshev are proud to support events like STEM CampUs that provide educational opportunities for students.

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Lou: Focused on encouraging STEM pursuits

As a father of two children, it was great to be able to volunteer with a program focused on encouraging students to pursue an education and career in STEM. Both professionally and personally, this is a passion of mine. For example, my 11-year-old son is especially interested in video games, so I’ve been working to translate his love of video games into a broader understanding of STEM.

At STEM CampUs I had the opportunity to judge the STEM app competition. I was impressed by how much thought the students had put into their presentations. When we asked them questions it was clear they’d considered the different kinds of feedback they might receive from the judges and the audience. The thoroughness of their presentations and their overall preparedness was truly remarkable!

After the competition, Kelly and I were able to sit down with some of the students for dinner and one-on-one conversations. I was happy to answer their questions about pursuing a career in STEM and to share my experience majoring in computer science and how I came to work at Teza.

Overall I had a great time getting to know the students and learning more about their individual interests and goals. I’m looking forward to participating in more events like this in the future!

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Kelly: Learning about students’ passion for STEM

While Lou was judging the STEM app competition, I enjoyed viewing the presentations as a member of the audience. Like Lou, I was very impressed with how much work the students had put into their creations!

For me, the best part of the event was talking with the kids during dinner. For example, I had a great conversation with a young girl who was hoping to attend Temple University in the future. She told me about how much she loves Philadelphia, her family and siblings, and how much she had enjoyed her time at STEM CampUs. I was blown away by her maturity – she was extremely goal-oriented and it was great to hear about her plans for the future and how ASAS was helping her along her path.

Overall, I was highly impressed with the event, and I’m looking forward to more ways that we can support ASAS in the future, including through ASAS’s Climb 4 Kids event in October!

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Misha Malyshev Has Latest Column Published by Smart Business Chicago

Misha Malyshev has contributed a series of columns to Smart Business Chicago in 2014, with the latest being published on Thursday. In the column, Malyshev brings to light some alarming facts about women in the technology sector.  For example, as of 2012, women held only 27% of the computer and information systems management jobs and make up only 26% of the computer and mathematical workforce.

Malyshev writes of removing the “nerd stigma” that exists in young girls and even adds:

“My daughter receives just as many physics lessons as fairy tales for bedtime stories.”

Malyshev goes on to discuss looking beyond the classroom with after school activities to promote STEM as well as with mentorship in the workplace.

“Today’s technology companies must find a way to encourage all talented individuals to engage in those fields that are vital for social development and economic growth. Technology business leaders should explore these and any other means to educate, recruit, cultivate and retain a gender-balanced workforce.”

Misha Malyshev’s full column.

 

 

Forbes Russia: Russian rivers in America

Forbes Russia recently published a profile of Teza Technologies CEO Misha Malyshev.

Forbes Russia
September 2014        
Investments/Business in the West
Teza Technologies

There is a small town of Shuya located in the area of the Teza River, which is in the Ivanovo region. That’s where Mikhail (Misha) Malyshev grew up. He named his company – Teza Technologies – after that river, and it is one of the top companies in the high frequency trading (HFT) field.

Malyshev never even dreamed about America during his childhood, growing up in a house that was heated with wood. His father was a driver and his mother was an elementary school teacher. Misha was mostly like his peers. The only difference was that Misha won his town competitions in math and physics.

“While in the eighth grade, my math teacher suggested that I solve problems she brought from the Physics and Technology University. I refused at first but then I realized that it was extremely interesting,” said Malyshev.

In 1986, Malyshev was enrolled to MPTI to become a student of general and applied physics. He studied plasma physics, and during his practice at the Kurchatov Institute he was studying stellarators – reactors for controlled thermonuclear fusion.

Upon the collapse of the USSR, Malyshev together with his spouse, Oksana, were considering whether they should continue their scientific studies at MPTI with a meager scholarship, or if they were better off trying to go to the Unites States to earn money for an apartment in Russia. They chose the United States.

For starters, Malyshev had to purchase plane tickets, pass an English exam and be enrolled to a University in the United States. He did not have any money and he borrowed $100.00 from his cousin who had already moved to the United States. Ukrainian relatives provided financial support to Malyshev’s spouse. Plane tickets were provided by the Fullbright organization that was giving grants to scientists and students.

The Malyshevs were enrolled in the University of Arizona in 1993, where their scholarship was $9,000.00 a year. Later, Misha transferred to the more prestigious Princeton University. The Malyshevs could not save money for an apartment as they had to pay their loan for a used Toyota. The first restaurant they could afford was an Indian place with an all-you-can-eat buffet for $7.00.

During university studies Malyshev got a job at Bell Labs, a company that produced a number of transistor technologies for the Operating System UNIX. He stayed with Bell Labs for a couple of years and, upon completion of his project on low-temperature plasma for computer chips, he began his searches for something new.

By this time Oksana was working at the consulting company Mitchel Madison Group. Malyshev became a consultant himself in 2000. He worked for McKinsey & Company and he enjoyed it a lot, although he felt there was a lack of analytical work.

“Then I ran a project for McKinsey on hedge funds and I realized that was exactly what I wanted to do,” said Malyshev.

After leaving the company in 2003, Malyshev secured a job at the hedge fund office of Kenneth Griffin in Chicago, where Malyshev created a new business in the HFT space.

Eventually, Malyshev decided to start his own business, Teza Technologies. The staff of the company expanded from 3 to 60 people within the last five years, and Teza now has offices in Chicago, New York and London. There are no traders at Teza, and hundreds of its automatic strategies are developed by mathematicians and physicists, or “quants.”

Malyshev stated that his company makes profits out of market liquidity provision. Teza, as well as its competitors in the high frequency trading field, do not disclose any financial figures.

He has not been in Russia for a long time as his business requires his constant involvement. Maybe that’s why the native of Shuya named his business after a Russian river.

*Abridged version of the original article in Russian

 

Smart Business Column: Why supporting STEM education in your industry is good for business

Misha Malyshev recently had a column published by Smart Magazine Chicago which explains the importance of supporting STEM education within your industry. Malyshev has previously written for Smart Business, publishing a piece outlining why recruitment should play second fiddle to retention.

In his new piece, Malyshev breaks down how STEM helps business.

“Our nation’s scientists, engineers and innovators have driven the achievements that are positioning the U.S. as a global leader. With fewer American students pursuing expertise in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and a shortage of teachers skilled in those subjects, our leadership position is vulnerable.

It is imperative that American students move from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math, and we must increase the number of proficient students and teachers in these vital fields.
To accomplish these goals, enterprises need to partner with nonprofits, civic groups, policymakers and educational institutions to support the effort. STEM education is good for businesses across industries for a multitude of reasons.”

He goes on to make his argument by breaking it down into four points:

  • Encourages problem-solving
  • Creates opportunity through exposure
  • Allows people to move forward
  • Improves critical skills

Click here to read the rest of the piece by Misha Malyshev.

Misha Malyshev Featured In Smart Business: Retaining Coveted Talent

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Recently Misha Malyshev was featured in Smart Business Magazine. In his column, Misha discusses the important role of quality employees in the success of organizations today and brief analysis of McKinsey and Co.’s concept “War for Talent”. This “war” has since evolved from obtaining quality people to retaining the top talent. Misha outlines the measures needed by companies, especially those in highly competitive industries, to cultivate, challenge and satisfy their top talent:

“Determine skills beyond paper qualifications
Education and experience are often viewed as key determinants of a candidate’s ability to perform a job. It is also imperative, however, to define personality traits and unique skill sets that will work well within an organization’s culture and business model, and that will allow the candidate to thrive once hired. For example, creativity, adaptability and a passion for in-depth problem-solving are characteristics that, while not always immediately apparent on a resume, may be a key factor in the difference between a good candidate and a great one. Defining these more abstract qualifications for your particular company and developing an interview technique to screen for them is no doubt a difficult endeavor. But it is also one that will pay off exponentially.

Customize each challenge
Often, high-potential employees are underutilized in roles that don’t best suit their particular strengths and/or personal motivations. This can lead to frustration for all parties involved. Instead of collecting talent for talent’s sake, it is critical to analyze a star performer’s best fit within your organization. In any industry, there are an infinite number of problems to be solved or processes to be improved upon. These can be customized to best suit each individual. The right breed of talent craves this kind of challenge, and will find tremendous satisfaction in the pursuit of a tailor-made goal.

Create opportunity ASAP
Newer talent is particularly sought after in highly competitive industries. It is extremely important to nurture these individuals, and to provide coaching and other educational opportunities. Team structure can play a pivotal role here. Pairing new talent with more senior team members is a great way to further the new hire’s education while also exposing senior members to a different, fresher approach. Immediately providing this kind of guided opportunity for new talent helps them to develop relationships within the company, find mentors and ultimately become more engaged with and committed to the company for the long term.

Set the stage for greatness 
Identifying and developing employees’ strengths and customizing challenges to capitalize on their unique skill sets creates the opportunity for greatness to be achieved. The desire for greatness and belief in its possibility will not only lead to professional fulfillment, but also to groundbreaking solutions that can transform a company. Productivity will abound, and satisfaction for both the individual and the organization will inevitably follow.”

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