The quant hedge fund using science to save the planet
Quant fund Two Sigma has built a reputation for itself as a premier destination in finance for scientists and the inquisitive minded. Although the firm as a whole has been going through a tense custody battle between its two co-founders as of late, it's still finding the time to focus on more philanthropic pursuits.
One area Two Sigma has focused on is sustainability, particularly in regard to its reliance on power-sucking data centers. A recent blog post has detailed a series of initiatives the hedge fund is working on to reduce their carbon footprint there.
First, Two Sigma is looking at open-source software. It's using open-source APIs to "measure power consumption at a server level," and define its carbon footprint. It's also using open-source tech for "in-house carbon intensity forecasting." As for in-house technology, it's "developing a pilot method for measuring the emissions from a set of virtualized tasks."
Those are just means of measuring consumption however, not reducing it, so what steps is Two Sigma taking? There are "software optimizations and pipeline refactors" with an eye on sustainability. More interestingly, it's scheduling non-critical workloads to times of day when the electricity grid is at its least carbon intensive.
Two Sigma may yet change up its tech stack. It's been identifying "in-flight initiatives that target the use of efficient programming languages." Job applications for quant engineers highlight C++ and Python as languages in use at the firm, but each have potentially energy saving alternatives, such as Rust for the former and Lua for the latter.
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