by Adithya Solai

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Image from Unsplash

Exceptions & Luck

Of course, everything discussed below will have exceptions. For example, maybe you have a mid/low GPA, but also have tremendous hands-on experience through clubs, projects, and internships/startups.

There will always be an unavoidable element of luck in any recruiting process. The only thing you can do is minimize the impact of luck as much as possible. Make your resume as good as it can be. Prepare and practice your answers to common behavioral questions. Finally: Leetcode, Leetcode, Leetcode. Do all you can from your end, and luck will do the rest.

Software Engineering (SWE) Internship Recruiting Process

Companies will add or subtract to this process as they like, but this is a general overview of what to…


Cracking Blackjack

Finishing the First-Visit Monte Carlo Algorithm

Hi!

If you haven’t done so already, please read Parts 1–4 before continuing. The rest of this article will assume you have read and understood the previous articles.

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Image from Unsplash

Outline for this Article

  • Learn how the run_mc() function facilitates the algorithm.
  • Dive deep into Step 6 of the First-Visit MC algorithm, which is where the Q-table and Prob-table are updated after each episode.

10,000 ft Overview of First-Visit MC from Part 4

  1. Initialize the Blackjack environment from Part 2.
  2. Define the Q-table, Prob-table, alpha (α), epsilon (ε), ε-decay, ε-min, and gamma (γ) explained in Part 3.
  3. Define how many episodes you would like your agent to learn from. …

Cracking Blackjack

First-Visit Monte Carlo Algorithm + Coding It!

Hi!

If you haven’t done so already, please read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 before continuing. The rest of this article will assume you have read and understood the previous articles.

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Image from Unsplash

Outline for this Article

In this article, I will be explaining how the First-Visit Monte Carlo (MC) algorithm works, and how we can apply that to Blackjack to teach an AI agent to maximize returns. Here is how this article is structured:

  1. Explaining the algorithm at a high level.
  2. Implementing the algorithm in the context of our OpenAI Gym Blackjack environment from Part 2.

While reading, remember that the main impact of the First-Visit MC algorithm is defining how the agent should update its policy after getting rewards for some action it took in some given state. Refer to the diagram below to help visualize this. …


Cracking Blackjack

The Building Blocks of Reinforcement Learning Algorithms

Hi!

If you haven’t done so already, please read Part 1 and Part 2 before continuing. The rest of this article will assume you have read and understood the previous articles.

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Image from Unsplash

Outline for this Article

In this article, I will be explaining the key building blocks that are used in the Reinforcement Learning algorithm we will use to maximize Blackjack returns. These building blocks are also used in many other Reinforcement Learning algorithms, so it is worthwhile to understand them in a context we know and love: Blackjack!

Always keep this diagram of the Reinforcement Learning Cycle from Part 2 in your head as you read this article! …


Cracking Blackjack

Intro to Reinforcement Learning & OpenAI Gym

Hi!

If you haven’t done so already, please read Part 1 before continuing. The rest of this article will assume you have read and understood Part 1.

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Image from Unsplash

The Reinforcement Learning Cycle

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Image made by Author

To move forward with our mission to “crack” Blackjack using Reinforcement Learning, we must understand the image above. Below, I have broken down the image into its components, and their equivalents in Blackjack:

  • Agent: The AI abstraction that is carrying out the learning process. In Blackjack, the agent is the player.
  • Environment: The set of all possible situations the agent can interact with, the actions available in each situation, and the outcomes (rewards + punishments) associated with each of these situations. In Blackjack, this is the set of all possible player hands, dealer up-cards, player actions (hit or stand), and results (win/lose/tie). …

Cracking Blackjack

Setup + Simple Monte Carlo Simulations

Hi!

I am writing this “Cracking Blackjack” blog series as a way of consolidating the knowledge I have gained in the Reinforcement Learning space. I needed to combine the info of 30+ articles and blog posts when I was creating this Blackjack project, and I want to make it easier for the next person.

I am by no means an expert on this stuff. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns about the information I am about to present! My contact info is at the bottom.

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Image from Unsplash

Quick Summary of Blackjack

Blackjack is a card game played against a dealer. At the start of a round, both player and dealer are dealt 2 cards. The player can only see one of the dealer’s cards. The goal of the game is to get the value of our cards as close to 21 as possible, without crossing 21. …


5/1/20

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Introduction to Foreign Exchange Trading

by Michael Grainger

What are Exchange Rates

Exchange rates are defined as the ratio at which a unit of the currency of one country can be exchanged for that of another country. A basic example is one United States dollar being worth about 0.91 Euros on 4/30.

There are many different parameters that affect exchange rates. Floating exchange rates can constantly change in comparison to other currencies, while fixed rates are tied to some other currency or to gold.

A currency peg creates a fixed range of of what the exchange rate can be. For example, if Hong Kong dollar to USD has a pegged rate of 7.75–7.85, …


Support & Resistance (4/26/20)

Before reading any further, make sure to check out Part One of this mini-series here!

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Last week, we gave an intro to technical analysis and explained how volume indicators can be used in this security analysis strategy. Since support and resistance are at the core of many technical analysis concepts and strategies, we will be focusing on this topic today.

The Basics of Support & Resistance

by Adithya Solai

Overall, the concept of support and resistance relies on the belief that the price of a stock will reverse at certain price levels. The graphs below will help show these patterns more clearly:

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Source: StockCharts.com

In September 1999, Amazon’s stock crossed the $60 price level. In the following 6 months, Amazon consistently reversed when dropping towards the $60 mark again. The $60 price level is an example of a support level.


4/24/20

Market Update

by Adam Mirsky

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*as of market close 4/23/20

Its been a wild ride this week for U.S. Equities with one concept dominating the news cycle: Oil.

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Indexes for this commodity began the week with massive losses as Crude prices dropped (for the first time) into the negatives. This plummet in value has only exacerbated an already-volatile market, with most WTI futures averaging at least a 10% price movement (up or down) everyday since March began.

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CBOE Crude Oil Volatility Index Hits Record High

Oil rallied midweek amid China’s re-opening (and hopefully re-fueling) as demand in the nation slowly begins to reappear. On a similar note, escalating military tensions between the U.S. …


The Importance of Volume — 4/19/20

Welcome to our mini-series on technical analysis of financial markets! We plan to have the next few weeks’ Sunday articles dedicated to this important field of market analysis. In this article, we will introduce the fundamental principles behind technical analysis, and explain how indicators related to trading volume can be leveraged for market insights.

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What is Technical Analysis?

by Adithya Solai

Technical analysis is an approach to investing in securities that relies on forecasting trends using market data from the past. Basically, technical analysts try to identify patterns and predict when these patterns will occur again.

“The trend is your friend!” …

About

adithyasolai

Junior CS Student @ UMD College Park | SWE Intern @ Amazon & Ocient

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