Fourth year PhD student in the Economics and Computation Group at the University of Liverpool following a Master’s in Physics. The focus of my research is on the applications of reinforcement learning for optimising decision problems in complex real-world domains including automated trading (market-making, optimal execution, statistical arbitrage, order routing) and epidemiology which are heavily influenced by the minimisation of risk.
MPhys in Physics, 2016
University of Liverpool
We show that adversarial reinforcement learning (ARL) can be used to produce market marking agents that are robust to adversarial and adaptively-chosen market conditions. To apply ARL, we turn the well-studied single-agent model of Avellaneda and Stoikov  into a discrete-time zero-sum game between a market maker and adversary. The adversary acts as a proxy for other market participants that would like to profit at the market maker’s expense. We empirically compare two conventional single-agent RL agents with ARL, and show that our ARL approach leads to: 1) the emergence of risk-averse behaviour without constraints or domain-specific penalties; 2) significant improvements in performance across a set of standard metrics, evaluated with or without an adversary in the test environment, and; 3) improved robustness to model uncertainty. We empirically demonstrate that our ARL method consistently converges, and we prove for several special cases that the profiles that we converge to correspond to Nash equilibria in a simplified single-stage game.
Market making is a fundamental trading problem in which an agent provides liquidity by continually offering to buy and sell a security. The problem is challenging due to inventory risk, the risk of accumulating an unfavourable position and ultimately losing money. In this paper, we develop a high-fidelity simulation of limit order book markets, and use it to design a market making agent using temporal-difference reinforcement learning. We use a linear combination of tile codings as a value function approximator, and design a custom reward function that controls inventory risk. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach by showing that our agent outperforms both simple benchmark strategies and a recent online learning approach from the literature.