Our experience using a systems-programming language to do numerical computing

By:

Jack Gindi, Associate, BlackRock AI Labs

&

Steven Diamond, Associate, BlackRock AI Labs

In this post, we discuss an optimization algorithm that was at the core of one of our projects here at BlackRock. You can check out the open source project here. For a discussion of the business case the algorithm was originally conceived for, we refer you to a paper the BlackRock AI Labs published in summer of 2020. It is based on a variant on the alternating-direction method of multipliers (ADMM) optimization algorithm applied specifically to the tax-aware portfolio construction problem. The important thing is to know that at its core, the code we developed required some heavy numerical…


Aladdin Platform leader, Daniel Gourvitch dives into the expansion of BlackRock’s technology, the launch of Aladdin Data Cloud and our partnership Snowflake.

At BlackRock, we have been innovating in the FinTech space for over 30 years, building the industry-leading platform, Aladdin, that is used to manage the investment process for BlackRock. We also provide Aladdin to external clients across the financial industry. Our clients span asset managers, banks, pension funds, insurance companies and, more recently, wealth managers.

Last year, we launched Aladdin Studio — a workshop that brings together the tools needed by fulltime engineers and citizen developers to build on top of Aladdin quickly and easily. …


Tech Fellow, Michael Francis dives into the details of breaking down services to small business entities with sets of actions. He also describes where this pattern becomes hard and how BlackRock is solving this problem.

By: Michael Francis, Technical Fellow and Head of Aladdin Platform Engineering, within the Aladdin Product Group, at BlackRock

At BlackRock, we have committed to resource-oriented design for our service calls in Aladdin, our investment management technology. In a nutshell, resource-oriented design encourages breaking down services into a set of distinct entities (resources) with no overlap. Identification of entities by a unique reference allowing cross entity references. A small number of methods (RPCs) are defined against these resources supporting access and mutation. For a comprehensive introduction to ROD, it is good to read the Google description.

Why choose a resource-oriented design?

Historically many organizations (including BlackRock)…


BlackRock Engineer, Kevin Sun shares an example of implementing eventual consistency in BlackRock’s Cachematrix Liquidity Trading Portal

By: Kevin Sun, BlackRock Engineer & Managing Director in the Cash Engineering team within the Aladdin Product Group

Introduction

The Cachematrix Liquidity Trading Portal, a BlackRock technology product, is a web-based liquidity management platform white-labeled by 25 large global banks and asset management companies. Cachematrix Cloud Connector is a real-time Integration-as-a-service application that connects various external bank and Transfer Agent (TA) systems with the multi-tenant Cachematrix Liquidity Trading Portal. The Cloud Connector uses Kafka as the message broker and streaming platform.

With Kafka’s out of the box message persistence, state stores, and Kafka Streams API, we implemented eventual consistency with high…


Sue Zheng, BlackRock Tech Fellow and Lead Engineer for Aladdin Trading talks about her experience as an engineer innovating the Aladdin platform over the last 20 years.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of BlackRock delivering Aladdin externally to clients, and you’ve been around since the beginning. Did you ever think you’d be at the same company for that amount of time?

When I started, BlackRock was a small shop doing fixed income only. 20 years ago, Aladdin, BlackRock’s investment management technology used both internally and delivered externally to other financial institutions, looked very different. Back then, I thought I’d…


How BlackRock used a hackathon to deepen its connection to its client-first culture of innovation

By: Kirsty Craig, Head of Data Strategy & Solutions for Portfolio Management at BlackRock

The annual hackathon at BlackRock is a great way for employees to focus on their passion. It’s a favorite event for engineers, their non-coding colleagues and business partners. The Hackathon increases team cohesion by fostering collaboration. It also furthers BlackRock’s goal of using innovation to better serve clients by generating some truly remarkable ideas.

One such concept in years past, Aladdin Wealth, is now a fully operational solution for wealth managers. While we had great success, we’re always looking for ways to innovate. When the Covid-19…


By: Ajar Ashyrkulova, Director, Head of Platform Analytics in the Portfolio Analytics Group at BlackRock

Two years ago, I was browsing one of our internal chat rooms when I saw repeated questions about Python syntax from one of my colleagues. I had to do a double take — this was a Managing Director with many years of investment risk management experience who to my knowledge had never programmed before, let alone know to ask about Python syntax. I even joked that I thought this was an intern using the MD’s computer (that, of course, would never be allowed). …


By: Stephen Humphreys, Director, is the Head of Product Engineering for Cachematrix within the Aladdin Product Group at BlackRock.

and

Sam Russak, Analyst, is an engineer on the Cachematrix Product Engineering team within the Aladdin Product Group at BlackRock.

OVERVIEW

Cachematrix is a web-based liquidity management platform white-labeled by 25 large global banks and asset management companies. It has a multi-tenant architecture that requires strict isolation of data processing and access control of features and resources by white-label client. To achieve this goal, we need to have a comprehensive and scalable security solution with minimum burden on developers. Specifically, we want…


Vaibhav Page, Associate, is a software developer in the Platform Engineering team focused on the Aladdin Data Science platform. He is also the co-author and maintainer of the Open Source project Argo Events.

Motivation

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, the go-to-tool for building portable applications in containers is Docker. Typically, Docker is the only container tool the majority of us have ever used. This is totally understandable, Docker is clearly considered the de facto container build and runtime tool in the industry. With its relatively low learning curve, Docker facilitates the rapid adoption of an “Infrastructure-as-Code” approach to…

BlackRockEngineering

Official BlackRock Engineering Blog. From the designers & developers of industry-leading platform Aladdin®. Important disclosures: http://bit.ly/17XHCyc

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