12) Common Questions


This tutorial has hopefully given you a good start through the learning curve, but the following questions and answers may help as well.  If you still have questions at any time, please feel free to ask us.


  1. Does StrataSearch create mostly curve-fitted systems?
  2. Does StrataSearch optimize my trading systems?
  3. Can I run StrataSearch against just a single symbol?
  4. My search is running, but there are no results.  What's wrong?
  5. How can I search for short strategies?
  6. What products can I use StrataSearch with?
  7. Can I use StrataSearch with non-US markets?
  8. How long should I let my automated search run?
  9. Does StrataSearch make use of multiple processors?
  10. StrataSearch keeps shutting down.  What's wrong?
  11. I found a bug!  What should I do?
  12. How do I get technical support?
  13. What are the ideal system requirements?
  14. After buying StrataSearch, what other fees are there?
  15. Can I use both my laptop and desktop with one license?
  16. Can I transfer my license to a new computer?
  17. Why is StrataSearch so expensive?
  18. Why is StrataSearch so inexpensive?
  19. What's next for StrataSearch?



1. Does StrataSearch create mostly curve-fitted systems?


Curve-fitted systems are certainly easier to find than robust ones, but StrataSearch will only find the types of systems that you tell it to.  So if you've found that it's finding mostly curve-fitted systems, you'll need to provide it with additional instructions on how to avoid them.  When it comes to the systems that StrataSearch builds, they can be as simple or complex as you'd like.  Some traders believe that fewer trading rules means less likelihood of curve-fitting, so you may wish to decrease the number of trading rules if this is your belief.  On the filtering side, StrataSearch contains the very same protections used by the most advanced learning algorithms, such as Out-Of-Sample testing, Parameter Shift testing, and a large array of performance values that allow you to ensure things like consistency across trades and over time.  In short, StrataSearch can avoid curve-fitted systems as effectively as any other software package.  But since the configurations are in your hands, you must properly instruct it to do so.


2. Does StrataSearch optimize my trading systems?


Within the OneClick Search only, StrataSearch contains 2 phases of optimization.  In the first phase, the best strategies that have been found in the search up to that point can be put through a parameter optimization.  In short, a series of alternate parameter sets are tested, and the strategies go through the same testing, filtering and scoring laid out for the underlying search.  If an alternate parameter set passes those filters and proves to have a higher score, then it will replace the original combination in the results. 


In the second phase of optimization, the parameter sets remain static, but additional trading rules are added to the underlying combination to see if they offer any benefit.  Again, these strategies go through the same testing, filtering and scoring laid out for the underlying search.  If the new combination passes those filters and proves to have a higher score, then it will replace the original combination in the results.


Optimization can be turned off altogether, or either phase can be turned off independently.  See the Optimization tab of the OneClick Setups for more information.


3. Can I run StrataSearch against just a single symbol?


Yes, this is very common.  To do this, you'll first need to create a sector that contains just your single symbol.  Enter the Setups > Sector Setups menu, and then click the Add button to create a new Sector.  Give the Sector a name, and then scroll down and double-click on the symbol to check the box and add it to the symbol list.  After clicking OK to save the Sector, you can then run a search against that single-symbol sector just like any other sector.


When running against a single symbol, you should normally examine only the results for a Portfolio Size of 1.  You can speed this process by updating the Detailed Analysis Trades tab in the Trade Settings, and setting StrataSearch to only create results for a Portfolio Size of 1.


4. My search is running, but there are no results.  What's wrong?


Either you're not properly selecting your results for display, or the filters are too tight and no results have thus far been saved.  To check the results, open the Display > Combination Results menu, select the Type of search you're running (OneClick, AutoSearch, Strategies, etc.), and then select the name of your search from the list.  Make sure the Sector is set to [All Securities / All Sectors], the View is set to Long and Short Position Results, and all Selection Filters are set to (none).  If, after clicking OK, the Combination Results Listing is empty, then your filters are too tight and no results are being saved.


If you're running a Strategy, AutoSearch, or Multi-System, the filters are set on the Combination Filters tab of the Trade Settings.  See the section named Combination Results Filtering, and loosen the filters in that section to allow some results to be saved.  As a test, you can also briefly uncheck the Enable Filtering of Combination Results box, although it is not recommended you leave filters off for long periods.  Changes made to the Combination Results Filtering are implemented immediately, so you do not need to stop and restart the search for the new filters to take effect.


If you're running a OneClick Search and are not seeing any results, you can find the filters on the Strategy Performance tab of the OneClick Setups.  For each of the Evaluation Fields in the listing, examine the Best and Worst Rated Values for those where the Reject Strategies Outside This Value box is checked.  These are the values that may need to be loosened to allow results to be saved.  Adjustments to these settings are not implemented immediately, so you will need to stop and restart your search for changes to these filters to take effect.


5. How can I search for short strategies?


For Strategies and AutoSearch, this is configured on the Combination Filters tab of the Trade Settings.  You can set the search to look for long strategies, short strategies, or either long or short strategies.  Within StrataSearch, a single strategy is designated as either long or short.  Thus, it is not possible to have a single strategy flip back and forth between long and short trades.  You can, however, have both long and short strategies within a multi-system. 


A OneClick Search can also be designated to search for long strategies, short strategies, or either long or short strategies.  This is configured on the General tab of the OneClick Setups


When displaying results in the Combination Results Listing, make sure you set the View to Long and Short Position Results, or the single side you wish to view.  If you're searching for short strategies, but displaying only long strategies, you will not be able to see the results of your current search.


6. What products can I use StrataSearch with?


StrataSearch has specific setups for Stocks (including Indexes and ETFs), Mutual Funds, Futures and Forex.  Since this covers the processing requirements of most products, you may also be able to use StrataSearch with products besides these by processing the symbols through one of the available options.


7. Can I use StrataSearch with non-US markets?


Yes.  While we maintain symbol and sector lists for US markets, there is nothing preventing StrataSearch from being used for any market worldwide.  In fact, we have a large number of non-US users.  You can import prices into StrataSearch using common MetaStock or ASCII price file formats.  Or you can use a paid pricing service like Reuters Datalink to obtain prices for your desired exchange.



8. How long should I let my automated search run?


This is a subject of some debate.  First, it depends a great deal on the size of the Sector you're evaluating and the Evaluation Period you're using.  Clearly 20 years of the entire stock market will take much longer to run than a single symbol against just a few years.  In general, most users prefer to monitor how frequently enhancements to their results are being found.  If enhancements are being found frequently, then it is often best to let the search continue.  However, if a day or more is going by without a single enhancement, then your search time might best be spent elsewhere.  You can open the File > Event Viewer menu to see a history of when the last enhancements to your OneClick Search were found.  Only some experience using StrataSearch will allow you to determine for yourself when to terminate a search.


9. Does StrataSearch make use of multiple processors?


Yes, StrataSearch can take advantage of as many processors as your computer has available.  It does this by distributing the load of each symbol to a different processor, to the extent that there are processors available.  Thus, if you have 4 processors, the evaluation of 4 symbols can be performed simultaneously, while a single-core processor would need to evaluate them one at a time. 


If you have multiple processors on your computer, you can throttle StrataSearch to use less than the available number.  This allows you to more easily use your computer for other things, preventing StrataSearch from utilizing 100% of your computer's power.  Enter the Setups > System Settings menu, General tab, and see the Number of Processors to Utilize setting for more information.


10. StrataSearch keeps shutting down.  What's wrong?


In many cases, this is due to an overly protective security program, like an antivirus or antispyware program.  StrataSearch is a very CPU-intensive program that performs a great deal of file and memory management to make it run as efficiently as possible.  Some antivirus programs are distrustful of such activity and have been known to terminate StrataSearch.  If StrataSearch is shutting down unexpectedly, you should enter your antivirus or antispyware program(s) and make sure StrataSearch is designated as a trusted application.  If you continue to have problems, please let us know. 


11. I found a bug!  What should I do?


While making StrataSearch bug-free is always our objective, an occasional bug will sometimes be found in any software package.  However, there has not yet been a bug reported in StrataSearch that we have not corrected as quickly as possible.  If you discover a bug or other error in StrataSearch, please let us know by sending us an e-mail at support@stratasearch.com


12. How do I get technical support?


Technical Support is handled through the StrataSearch Forum, and via e-mail.  In most cases, we recommend searching the forum to see if an answer to your question has already been posted.  If not, you should feel free to post your question there, or to send us an e-mail at support@stratasearch.com.  Our technical support services have been continually praised for being fast, courteous, and truly helpful.


13. What are the ideal system requirements?


Naturally, the more powerful the computer, the faster StrataSearch will run.  Thus, a faster processor and multiple cores are always a benefit.  For disk space, 1GB is probably a minimum requirement; however, users may benefit from having from 3 to 5 GB to allow for the storage of more results.  The RAM requirements for StrataSearch are not particularly high, and larger amounts will not lead to increased efficiency beyond a certain point.  In general, 2 GB of RAM is usually sufficient to run StrataSearch at optimal speed.  However, a larger amount might prove helpful depending on the number of other programs that will be run on the computer at the same time.


14. After buying StrataSearch, what other fees are there?


None, apart from any subscriptions you may have with your pricing service.  As software users ourselves, we truly don't believe in the pricing model where you pay one price for the base software, but then need to pay again and again to purchase the add-ons that make the software worthwhile.  With StrataSearch, everything comes at one price, and there are no additional fees.  You have access to all functionality that StrataSearch offers, and you will be given unlimited technical support.  All minor upgrades are free, without expiration.


15. Can I use both my laptop and desktop with one license?


Sorry, but no.  The reason for this is that automated searches in StrataSearch can be run on multiple computers simultaneously, even by a single user.  This is very different than most software packages, which can only be used on one computer at a time by a single person.  For this reason, a StrataSearch license applies only to a single computer.  However, 50% discounts are available to those wishing to run StrataSearch on more than one machine.


16. Can I transfer my license to a new computer?


Yes.  Simply install the StrataSearch Trial on your new computer and provide us with the new Machine ID when you're ready to have your license transferred over.  We'll provide you with a new Serial Number and disable your old Serial Number in future releases.  To prevent abuse, we ask that you not request Serial Number transfers at a rate of more than once in a 6-month period.  We reserve the right to reject excessive requests for transfers.


17. Why is StrataSearch so expensive?


StrataSearch is not just a charting program, nor is it simply a back testing platform.  StrataSearch is a cutting-edge strategy search engine, of which there are only a few like it in the world.  To our knowledge, StrataSearch has a lower price than all of them.  In fact, a quick look at optimization software will show that StrataSearch is priced more competitively than nearly all of them as well, despite the fact that it does far more than just optimize.


18. Why is StrataSearch so inexpensive?


Rather than charge a high price and have very few users, we'd much rather charge a lower price and have a larger user base.  We've learned a great deal from our users, including ideas on performance values and statistics, formulas, book recommendations, and simply suggestions for making StrataSearch more user-friendly and efficient.  Put simply, StrataSearch is priced low enough to give us that large and diverse user base, while still allowing us to provide high quality technical support to each and every user.


19. What's next for StrataSearch?


StrataSearch has already exceeded our expectations, but there is always more that can be done.  Normally, after releasing a new version, we spend a fair amount of time searching for trading systems ourselves, and trading the systems we find.  Only then do we fully decide what enhancements will come next.  A few ideas already being considered are: an intelligent optimization routine, a new Custom Formula option offering greater programming flexibility, dynamic position sizing capabilities, and of course intraday support.  As mentioned previously, StrataSearch would not be what it is today without the invaluable input from our users.  Thus, we welcome all comments and suggestions at comments@stratasearch.com.  With your help, we'll continue to make StrataSearch better and more powerful with each release.