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**Learning to Trade via Direct Reinforcement**

John Moody International Computer Science Institute, Berkeley & J E Moody & Company LLC, Portland Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management Paris, May 2008

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**What is Reinforcement Learning?**

RL Considers: A Goal-Directed “Learning” Agent interacting with an Uncertain Environment that attempts to maximize Reward / Utility RL is an Active Paradigm: Agent “Learns” by “Trial & Error” Discovery Actions result in Reinforcement RL Paradigms: Value Function Learning (Dynamic Programming) Direct Reinforcement (Adaptive Control) Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**I. Why Direct Reinforcement?**

Direct Reinforcement Learning: Finds predictive structure in financial data Integrates Forecasting w/ Decision Making Balances Risk vs. Reward Incorporates Transaction Costs Discover Trading Strategies! Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Optimizing Trades based on Forecasts**

Indirect Approach: Two sets of parameters Forecast error is not Utility Forecaster ignores transaction costs Information bottleneck Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Learning to Trade via Direct Reinforcement**

Trader Properties: One set of parameters A single utility function U includes transaction costs Direct mapping from inputs to actions Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Direct RL Trader (USD/GBP): ReturnA=15%, SRA=2.3, DDRA=3.3**

Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**II. Direct Reinforcement: Algorithms & Illustrations**

Recurrent Reinforcement Learning (RRL) Stochastic Direct Reinforcement (SDR) Illustrations: Sensitivity to Transaction Costs Risk-Averse Reinforcement Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Learning to Trade via Direct Reinforcement**

DR Trader: Recurrent policy (Trading signals, Portfolio weights) Takes action, Receives reward (Trading Return w/ Transaction Costs) Causal performance function (Generally path-dependent) Learn policy by varying GOAL: Maximize performance or marginal performance Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Recurrent Reinforcement Learning (RRL) (Moody & Wu 1997)**

Deterministic gradient (batch): with recursion: Stochastic gradient (on-line): stochastic recursion: Stochastic parameter update (on-line): Constant : adaptive learning. Declining : stochastic approx. Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008**

Structure of Traders Single Asset - Price series - Return series Traders - Discrete position size - Recurrent policy Observations: Full system State is not known Simple Trading Returns and Profit: Transaction Costs: represented by Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Risk-Averse Reinforcement: Financial Performance Measures**

Performance Functions: Path independent: (Standard Utility Functions) Path dependent: Performance Ratios: Sharpe Ratio: Downside Deviation Ratio: For Learning: Per-Period Returns: Marginal Performance: e.g. Differential Sharpe Ratio . Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Long / Short Trader Simulation Sensitivity to Transaction Costs**

Learns from scratch and on-line Moving average Sharpe Ratio with = 0.01 Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Trader Simulation Sharpe Ratio Trading Frequency**

Transaction Costs vs. Performance 100 Runs; Costs = 0.2%, 0.5%, and 1.0% Sharpe Ratio Trading Frequency Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Minimizing Downside Risk: Artificial Price Series w/ Heavy Tails**

Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Comparison of Risk-Averse Traders Underwater Curves**

Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Comparison of Risk-Averse Traders: Draw-Downs**

Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**III. Direct Reinforcement vs. Dynamic Programming**

Algorithms: Value Function Method (Q-Learning) Direct Reinforcement Learning (RRL) Illustration: Asset Allocation: S&P 500 & T-Bills RRL vs. Q-Learning Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008**

RL Paradigms Compared Value Function Learning Origins: Dynamic Programming Learn “optimal” Q-Function Q: state action value Solve Bellman’s Equation Action: “Indirect” Direct Reinforcement Origins: Adaptive Control Learn “good” Policy P P: observations p(action) Optimize “Policy Gradient” Action: “Direct” Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008**

S&P-500 / T-Bill Asset Allocation: Maximizing the Differential Sharpe Ratio Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**S&P-500: Opening Up the Black Box**

85 series: Learned relationships are nonstationary over time Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Closing Remarks Direct Reinforcement Learning:**

Discovers Trading Opportunities in Markets Integrates Forecasting w/ Trading Maximizes Risk-Adjusted Returns Optimizes Trading w/ Transaction Costs Direct Reinforcement Offers Advantages Over: Trading based on Forecasts (Supervised Learning) Dynamic Programming RL (Value Function Methods) Illustrations: Controlled Simulations FX Currency Trader Asset Allocation: S&P 500 vs. Cash & Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008**

Selected References: [1] John Moody and Lizhong Wu. Optimization of trading systems and portfolios. Decision Technologies for Financial Engineering, 1997. [2] John Moody, Lizhong Wu, Yuansong Liao, and Matthew Saffell. Performance functions and reinforcement learning for trading systems and portfolios. Journal of Forecasting, 17: , 1998. [3] Jonathan Baxter and Peter L. Bartlett. Direct gradient-based reinforcement learning: Gradient estimation algorithms [4] John Moody and Matthew Saffell. Learning to trade via direct reinforcement. IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks, 12(4): , July 2001. [5] Carl Gold. FX Trading via Recurrent Reinforcement Learning. Proceedings of IEEE CIFEr Conference, Hong Kong, 2003. [6] John Moody, Y. Liu, M. Saffell and K.J. Youn. Stochastic Direct Reinforcement: Application to Simple Games with Recurrence. In Artificial Multiagent Learning, Sean Luke et al. eds, AAAI Press, 2004. Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008**

Supplemental Slides Differential Sharpe Ratio Portfolio Optimization Stochastic Direct Reinforcement (SDR) Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Maximizing the Sharpe Ratio**

Exponential Moving Average Sharpe Ratio: with time scale and Motivation: EMA Sharpe ratio emphasizes recent patterns; can be updated incrementally. Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Differential Sharpe Ratio for Adaptive Optimization**

Expand to first order in : Define Differential Sharpe Ratio as: where Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Learning with the Differential SR**

Evaluate “Marginal Utility” Gradient: Motivation for DSR: isolates contribution of to (“marginal utility” ); provides interpretability; adapts to changing market conditions; facilitates efficient on-line learning (stochastic optimization). Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Trader Simulation Transaction costs vs. Performance**

100 runs; Costs = 0.2%, 0.5%, and 1.0% Trading Frequency Cumulative Profit Sharpe Ratio Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Portfolio Optimization (3 Securities)**

Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Stochastic Direct Reinforcement: Probabilistic Policies**

Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008**

Learning to Trade Single Asset - Price series - Return series Trader - Discrete position size - Recurrent policy Observations: Full system State is not known Simple Trading Returns and Profit: Transaction cost rate Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Why does Reinforcement need Recurrence?**

Consider a learning agent with stochastic policy function whose inputs include recent observations o and actions a : Why should past actions (recurrence) be included? Examples: Games (observations o are opponent’s actions) Trading financial markets In General: Model opponent’s responses o to previous actions a Minimize transaction costs, market impact Recurrence enables discovery of better policies that capture an agent’s impact on the world !! Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Stochastic Direct Reinforcement (SDR): Maximize Performance**

Expected total performance of a sequence of T actions Maximize performance via direct gradient ascent Must evaluate total policy gradient for a policy represented by Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Stochastic Direct Reinforcement (SDR): Maximize Performance**

The goal of SDR is to maximize expected total performance of a sequence of T actions via direct gradient ascent Must evaluate for a policy represented by Notation: The complete history is denoted is a partial history of length (n,m) . Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Stochastic Direct Reinforcement: First Order Recurrent Policy Gradient**

For first order recurrence (m=1), conditional action probability is given by the policy: The probabilities of current actions depend upon the probabilities of prior actions: The total (recurrent) policy gradient is computed as : with partial (naïve) policy gradient : Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**SDR Trader Simulation w/ Transaction Costs**

Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Trading Frequency vs. Transaction Costs**

Recurrent SDR Non-Recurrent Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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**Sharpe Ratio vs. Transaction Costs**

Recurrent SDR Non-Recurrent Global Derivatives Trading & Risk Management – May 2008

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