Sunday, December 29, 2013

VIX futures market

The VIX is the ticker for the Chicago Board Options Exchange Market Volatility Index, which measures the level of 1-month implied (i.e. anticipated by the market) volatility in the S&P 500. It is constructed from a wide range of S&P 500 listed call and put options.
The exact definition is in this paper pages 3-9.

Below is a historical graph of the VIX since December 2006.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Power of Visualisation

Let us first quote Wikepedia verbatim:
'The adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image. It also aptly characterizes one of the main goals of visualization, namely making it possible to absorb large amounts of data quickly.'
Now let us make some slight amendments:
  • append 'or dynamic interactive images' to the first sentence.
  • append 'or grasp complex notions almost instantly' to the last sentence.
You then have the updated definition of the power of visualization. There is nothing conceptually new here, of course.
Charles Minard made his famous flow chart of Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign in 1869 (see below). In a sweeping look, you can see the number of men as the armies advance, the main cities on their path, the rivers they go through, and the dates and the deadly temperature on they way back, all at once.

It is proof of how the potential of visualisation was already understood as far back as in the 19th century. Incidentally, this map is a also a memorable representation of the abyss leadership's hubris can lead to.