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Systematic futures trading in python

Rob Carver

Version 1.50


Release notes

See DONE_TO_DO for release notes, and future plans.


pysystemtrade is the open source version of my own backtesting and trading engine that implements systems according to the framework outlined in my book "Systematic Trading", which is further developed on my blog.

For a longer explanation of the motivation and point of this project see my blog post.

Pysystemtrade is a....:

  • Backtesting environment I used to test all the strategies in my various "books"
  • Which implements all the optimisation and system design principles in the book and on my website and in my books
  • A fully automated system for futures trading (for interactive brokers)

pysystemtrade uses the IB insync library to connect to interactive brokers.

Stale? Stable?

I trade with pysystemtrade 20 hours a day, 5 days a week. Almost any improvement or change I make to my trading system will appear here. So except for periods of time when I'm doing other projects like writing books, you'll see pretty regular updates.

My live production system is always on the latest release. I make, and eat, my own dogfood on the same day. But there if you download a major version, you'll be getting something a little more stable.

Use and documentation

Introduction (start here)

Backtesting user guide

Working with futures data

Connecting to interactive brokers

Running as a production system


See requirements.txt for full details.

Make sure you get the python3 versions of the relevant packages, i.e. use: (in linux)

sudo pip3 install ....

(Your machine may not need pip3 if python3 is the default python on your machine)


This package isn't hosted on pip. So to get the code the easiest way is to use git:

git clone
# then one of:
python3 install # normal
python3 develop # required if using ipython so sessions can see files inside subdirectories which would otherwise be inaccessible.
python3 install --user # avoids use of sudo

Again, you may be okay with python rather than python3.

A note on support

This is an open source project, designed for people who are already comfortable using and writing python code, are capable of installing the dependencies, and who want a head start on implementing a system of their own. I do not have the time to provide support. Primarily, this is my trading system which you are welcome to use or steal code from, I'm open sourcing it out of the goodness of my heart not so I can become an unpaid technical support helper to hundreds of strangers. Of course I am very happy if you get in touch with me on any of the following topics:

  • Confusing error messages
  • Missing or misleading documentation
  • Suggestions for extra features

However I can't guarantee that I will reply immediately, or at all. If you need that level of support then you are better off with another project. The most efficient way of doing this is by opening an issue on github. If you discover a bug please include:

  • The full script that produces the error, including all import statements, or if it's a standard example file a pointer to the file. Ideally this should be a "minimal example" - the shortest possible script that produces the problem.
  • Versions of any necessary libraries you have installed
  • The full output trace including the error messages

If you don't include the information above I will close the issue and then ignore it.

If you have a question like 'how to do X' or 'should we do Y' use the discussions board, not the error reporting.

I'll try and incorporate any feedback into the code, but this is a part time (and unpaid!) venture for me, and it will be competing with my other interests (writing books, blogging and research). But if you occasionally check github you will hopefully find it gradually improving. Offers to contribute will of course be gratefully accepted.

Licensing and legal stuff

GNU v3 ( See LICENSE )

Absolutely no warranty is implied with this product. Use at your own risk. I provide no guarantee that it will be profitable, or that it won't lose all your money very quickly, or delete every file on your computer (by the way: it's not supposed to do that. Just in case you thought it was). All financial trading offers the possibility of loss. Leveraged trading, such as futures trading, may result in you losing all your money, and still owing more. Backtested results are no guarantee of future performance. I can take no responsibility for any losses caused by live trading using pysystemtrade. Use at your own risk. I am not registered or authorised by any financial regulator.