Interview: Keeping Abreast With Perry Kaufman by Jayanthi Gopalakrishnan
Perry Kaufman began his career as a “rocket scientist,” first working on the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO-1), the predecessor of the Hubble Observatory, and then on the navigation for Gemini, later used for Apollo missions, and subsequently in military reconnaissance. In 1971 he became involved in the futures markets and has remained there since. The earliest systematic programs for trading used exponential smoothing, a technique developed in aerospace for estimating the path of missiles.
In addition to trading, Kaufman writes extensively on markets and strategies. His seminal book, Trading Systems and Methods + Website, now in its fifth edition, is a comprehensive work in the area of trading system research and development. He has had 13 additional books published, some translated into Chinese, Russian, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese. He has and continues to lecture to economic forums, investor groups, and graduate students. He can be reached through his website at www.KaufmanSignals.com.
STOCKS & COMMODITIES Editor Jayanthi Gopalakrishnan interviewed Perry Kaufman on May 1, 2014 about how traders need to evolve their trading methodologies with the markets.
Since our last interview with you was in 1995, it would be great if you could remind us about your background and how you got interested in the markets.
I started in the computer business when computers were in their infancy. In college I had the opportunity to learn about computers and how to program them. That led me into the aerospace industry because that was the place to be at the time. I worked as a contractor on the West Coast on the navigation for Gemini. It was very exciting to do all that when you’re young.
The navigation for Gemini was used for the most part in Apollo, because they always test the software early. Then I went on to do reconnaissance work for the government, spy-in-the-sky mathematics, where we aimed cameras at different strategic places from satellites. You might remember the most well-known event related to that was the discovery of the missiles in Cuba.