A review of Robert Harris's The Fear Index, written by the Nitzan and Bichler.
Alexander Hoffmann is a physicist-turned-financier, a refugee from the particle accelerator complex in CERN who now runs a $10-billion algorithmic hedge fund from nearby Geneva. The fund is managed by VIXAL, Hoffmann’s machine learning algorithm, and is incredibly successful. The company’s statistics boast a consistently huge Alpha – a measure indicating by how much the fund beats the average and exceeds the normal rate of return – and the world’s biggest oligarchs and financial institutions are salivating at the mere thought of being allowed to invest in it. Managing their money has made Hoffmann very rich. In just a few years, he has seen his net worth rise from nothing to over a billion dollars.