Trading System Structure

In MATLAB, your trading system will be a function file that returns market positions and settings. MATLAB’s documentation has a great explanation of how to write functions. Every trading system needs the following MATLAB function:

function [p, settings] = ts(DATE, OPEN, HIGH, LOW, CLOSE, VOL, exposure, equity, settings)

Reading from the right of the equals sign we have a trading system called “ts” that takes in DATE, OPEN, HIGH etc. as a parameter. On the left hand side of the equals sign we see parameters we are returning: p and settings. Your function will be called each day of the backtesting period with the most recent data as arguments. Your function has to define p, your trading system’s market positions for the next day. p is just an array of numbers [0 1 -1 …] that resemble your market positions (no position, long, short).


Data can be requested for your trading system through the arguments of the function definition. The myTradingSystem function isn’t required to call any arguments, the example above is just a representation of various values that can be called.

Here is a breakdown of what parameters can be loaded into the trading system:

Parameter Description Dimensions (rows x columns)
DATE a date integer in the format YYYYMMDD Lookback x 1
OPEN the first price of the session Lookback x # of Markets
HIGH the highest price of the session Lookback x # of Markets
LOW the lowest price of the session Lookback x # of Markets
CLOSE the last price of the session Lookback x # of Markets
VOL number of stocks/contracts traded per session Lookback x # of Markets
exposure the realized quantities of your trading system, or all the trading positions you take Lookback x # of Markets
equity cumulative trading performance in each market, reflects gains and losses Lookback x # of Markets
OI, R, RINFO also available to be called as parameters, described in more detail under Market Data section  

The data is structured with the most recent information in the last index or row. Where lookback is simply how many historical data points you want to load in each iteration of your trading system. Given the data is daily, lookback represents the maximum number of days of market data you want to have loaded. Now the two parameters that aren’t explicitly related to market data are exposure and equity. These two relate to trading in your simulated broker account. Whenever you make a trading position, that’s recorded in exposure. And whatever the market result of your trading position is, is then recorded in equity. Or simply put: equity is what you made with each market over your lookback period.