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Financial Trading at the Speed of Light

Technology has allowed the pace of financial trading to approach its theoretical limits

4 min read

Once upon a time, stock exchanges were packed with traders running, shouting, and elbowing one another on an open trading floor. Today, virtually all stock trading is done, well, virtually—through massive, globally interlinked computer systems. The rates of these transactions are now limited only by technology and, increasingly, by the speed of light. So a costly arms race has begun for telecommunications and network links that can give traders a competitive edge as small as a few tens of microseconds.

"Everyone is driving toward zero latency," says Graeme Burnett, who has worked for Deutsche Bank and ABN Amro Bank in the Netherlands and now runs Enhyper, a consultancy in England that specializes in financial engineering. "We've literally done every optimization you can imagine."

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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