It is important to realize that grades in this class reflect your outcome performance (i.e., measured results), not your effort. Your letter grade is assigned based on the sum of the points that you have accumulated during the semester:

  • 1) each homework is worth 5 points;
  • 2) class participation is worth 10 points;
  • 3) the Hedge Tournament is worth 20 points.

The total points for the class is about 140, depending on the number of homeworks. The class has no final or midterm. In place of the Hedge Tournament, grad students can can opt to write a term paper.

Homework and how to submit it

Generally, each homework consists of a program. The homework is submitted electronically via myCommSite. The class schedule indicates what is due and when. Deadlines are enforced by the server without exception. All homework must be uploaded before the deadline according to the McIntire server clock (not your computer clock, which might be off). In the rare event that the network or the server malfunctions and you are not able to upload the homework, email me. The time-stamp of the email will be proof of timely submission. All late homework is subject to a penalty equal to 2 points per week. Keep a copy of all files. If you want to submit a late homework please submit it with the current homework, in a separate .zip file clearly labeled (e.g., "" or similar).  After submission, email me and I will grade it.

Grading the homework

Each homework is worth five points. If your submission it does not do what it is supposed to do, it gets points proportional to what it accomplishes. Sometimes just a comma or a space put in the wrong place might introduce defects in your software. This is the nature of this field. In math it is the same: 2.57 is definitely not the same as 25.7, even if just one dot was moved by just one space.
You may skip or drop two homework with no penalty. Please do not ask for more in fairness towards your classmates, who only get two. I reserve the right to audit any homework, no matter how old. I also reserve the right to require a verbal code walk-through from any student to verify understanding of the materials and originality of the work done.

Team Submission

For certain homework I may authorize team submissions. Team submissions are optional. Working and submitting individually is encouraged, as it may get you to learn more/better. If you decide to submit as a team, email me information about your team (team name, member names and user IDs). Partial team submissions are also possible. Example: A, B, and C are in a team. A and C worked together and submit jointly. A and C get the same grade, B is graded separately. You cannot do team submissions with people outside your team. Since I cannot know what you intend to do (individual submission, skip, team submission, partial team submission...) I ask that you let me know each time. For team submission one person submits the homework, and *all* the others who want to participate in the team submission submit a .txt file titled "[Student Last name] submitted for me" (e.g., "Liv Sullivan submitted for me") No .txt file, no points.

WINIT = What Is New In Technology

Knowing what is going on at the intersection between finance and technology is important for your career. Also important is being able to explain it clearly to your peers and managers. WINIT gives you an opportunity to keep up to date with what is new in technology and business, as well as to practice your skill at presenting/explaining technical topics. WINIT counts as class participation. Every time the class meets, a student will select a recent newspaper article or short video and summarize it for the class. Pick an article about IT and Finance that interests you and you believe that will be of interest to the class. It must have some business angle. Prepare a 2-5 minute verbal presentation. No slides or supporting materials are required. However, you should be able to explain clearly to the class what you have read and why it is important.

Hedge Tournament

The tournament is worth 20 points. The key dimension for assessing your performance in the Tournament is how well you hedge your risks, measured by your weighted cumulative tracking error. Having a system that performs without errors and that looks professional can also help you getting a better grade. The Tournament rewards actual financial outcomes, not effort. Specific rules for the HT will be provided to you in the rulebook, by mid-semester. Grades can be modified by confidential peer feedback from your teammates.

Class participation, attendance, and etiquette

Participation is rated daily on a scale from +3 (= exceptional contribution), to -1 (= late, disruptive, or distracted by devices). Class participation is defined broadly: it means to have a positive attitude and a leadership role in class. This includes asking good questions, making interesting WINIT comments and offering insightful comments during demos and code walkthroughs. It means helping others to learn within the limits of the honor code and helping making the class a more productive and fun learning environment for all. It means filling the end of semester survey. It also means being a good team player. At the end of the semester each team member will have an opportunity to evaluate their teammates, which might have an impact on grades.

You will not be penalized for missing up to four class sessions during the semester. Use these freebies wisely! After that, your participation grade for any absence will be zero. At the same time, you are always responsible for covering the materials, monitoring the web site, and for handing in all homework on time. Not attending or not paying attention is never an acceptable excuse. Let me know in advance in writing that you plan to miss a class.

Please turn off your cell phone and your computer when you are in class. Please do not wear unprofessional attire in class, such as baseball hats, flip flops, and the like.

Honor and Well-being

We operate under the honor system. The School of Commerce has an official honor statement that can be found here. In particular, the class encourages discussion of technical problems and solutions among students. You can discuss ideas, suggestions, and tips with your colleagues. However, it should be clear to everyone that copying somebody else's finished or partial work is not allowed. Bottom line: you need to do your own work. If in doubt about how to behave, ask the instructor. Finally, remember that everybody here at McIntire also cares about your well-being.


The Tournament

Some of the following links will be enabled later in the course.