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Honestly, I still don't know how I did it. The LAB49 WPF in Finance Innovation Contest was announced back in December and I think I first read about it on Tim Sneath blog. With all the cool prizes I was very inclined to participate, but it quickly turned out that its available only to US citizens. However that changed in the first week of February, so I started considering it again, but still didn't had any clue what to do. You see the goal of this contest was to create a WPF application that visualizes a set of provided financial data in some interesting way. While the first part was easy (writing the app in WPF) the hardest part was to figure out what to do with the data. Only after "last call to action" email from Daniel Chait I decided its about time to start coding.

Because I started working late on this project, initially I wanted to create only a charting control capable of displaying the line and candlestick plot of stock prices. But after the contest deadline was extended I started thinking of a better way to visualize the stock prices for a given day – something that goes beyond a simple listbox or a datagrid. The next option I considered was to create a heatmap – i.e. use color gradients to denote the change in stock prices relative to the previous day. But in all samples I’ve seen these symbols were placed on a regular grid and the placement didn’t correspond in any particular way with the data. I started thinking about how to sort the symbols so that those that experienced similar data change would be close to each other, and those with different data change remain further apart. This finally led me to the idea of applying Craig Reynolds’ flocking algorithm to perform this clustering.

Here is a screenshot from my final entry called Stock Information Boids:

 Stock Information Boids WPF Application

Also you can already download the source code for this application from my resource page at MSDN Code Gallery. Make sure to read the user guide that describes how the algorithm works and how to use the application.

Turns out that for some reason the judges liked my solution, because last week at the closing keynote of 2008 Microsoft Financial Services Developer Conference in New York, Daniel Chait announced that I won the grand prize in the contest!

The two finalist were Jacob Carpenter and Jobi K Joy, while the honorable mention went to Paul Hounshell. Congratulations guys, great work! You can download their very cool applications from here:

In following weeks I will try to share some details on my implementations (in particular about the Timeline and Flock controls). I was already told that Jobi K Joy and Jacob Carpenter plan to do the same, so make sure to subscribe to their blogs too.

I would like to thank the judges for selecting my entry. And last but not least, big kisses for my wife Joanna for letting me work on the project all nights and weekends considering her present condition (L)

Posted on Monday, March 17, 2008 9:39 PM | Back to top


Comments on this post: How I won the Lab49 WPF in Finance Innovation Contest?

# re: How I won the Lab49 WPF in Finance Innovation Contest?
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dude - I ran stockboids and came up with this runtime error?

AppName: stockboids.exe AppVer: 1.0.1.0 AppStamp:47d578be
ModName: kernel32.dll ModVer: 5.1.2600.3119 ModStamp:46239bd5
fDebug: 0 Offset: 00012a5b
Left by sam on Mar 18, 2008 4:48 PM

# re: How I won the Lab49 WPF in Finance Innovation Contest?
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COngratulations man. Its cool app. Running without any error. It will be good if other two guys share their code like you.
Left by siva on Mar 18, 2008 11:18 PM

# re: How I won the Lab49 WPF in Finance Innovation Contest?
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Congratulations ! Excellent work.
Left by Joe on Mar 27, 2008 3:20 AM

# re: How I won the Lab49 WPF in Finance Innovation Contest?
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Nice to meet you.
I had a look at blog.
Please link to this site.
http://www.geocities.jp/yui_0_8/
Left by bal on Apr 01, 2008 7:53 AM

# re: How I won the Lab49 WPF in Finance Innovation Contest?
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Hey,

I liked your project. I was wondering that how do i start with WPF. I am quite easy with doing .NET 2.0 Applications. but i havent really got a headstart at WPF. Please guide me !

Regards,
Bhavik Vora
bhavik@live.in
Left by Bhavik on May 23, 2008 9:28 PM

# re: How I won the Lab49 WPF in Finance Innovation Contest?
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Wow - very cool idea :)
Left by Nicholas Blumhardt on Sep 07, 2008 6:42 PM

# re: How I won the Lab49 WPF in Finance Innovation Contest?
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Thanks, great ideas.
Left by earth4energy on Sep 16, 2008 10:24 PM

# re: How I won the Lab49 WPF in Finance Innovation Contest?
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I think that you can find the answer and help on Google searching for finances in NYC. there's a loan full of information and when it comes to the finances, the information is always useful. Good luck!
Left by finance NYC on Apr 28, 2010 1:25 PM

# re: How I won the Lab49 WPF in Finance Innovation Contest?
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I am so glad that I have found this your article because I have been searching for some information about the finance innovation contest almost an hour. You helped me a lot indeed and reading this your entry I have found many new and useful information about this question. Well, I will definitely bookmark your website and wait for other useful and detailed posts like this one in the future. Regards, Matt.
Left by Great Lakes Health Insurance on May 05, 2010 5:53 AM

# re: How I won the Lab49 WPF in Finance Innovation Contest?
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Very great and informative article indeed. I have to admit that it was quite interesting to read this your post but I have never heard about the Finance Innovation Contest. It would be really interesting to read it for myself because you have made me to be very interested in it. Moreover it is really great that you have shared the link there I would find more information about this contest. Thanks one more time for this publication, it was really interesting to read it.
Left by mp3 rocket music on Jul 01, 2010 9:33 AM

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