The fear factor

Mon Feb 2, 2009



Roy Niederhoffer's use of computer neuroscience to sniff out panic is proving a winning strategy these days


Roy Niederhoffer's use of computer neuroscience to sniff out panic is proving a winning strategy these days

By Irwin Speizer

Roy Niederhoffer has two passions, both of which become abundantly clear in the midtown Manhattan headquarters of his eponymous hedge fund firm, R.G. Niederhoffer Capital Management. A onetime computer whiz kid, he remains a tech wonk who uses computational neuroscience to guide his algorithms. His 39th-floor office is a high-tech showplace with about 400 computers for a staff of 38, including a curving wall in the firm's trading room of 163 blinking screens displaying price data on global currencies, interest rates, stocks and bonds, many of which are updated every second.



Then there's his glass-walled office, outfitted with a 5' 10" Steinway piano. An accomplished pianist, Niederhoffer can, on command, coax from the keyboard just about any tune, from an obscure Broadway show number to vintage Motown. When...

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