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By Steve Graves, Co-Founder and CEO, McObject

In the realm of real-time database systems, DRAM memory is the new storage. Technologists have long recognised that grabbing data from main memory is much quicker than accessing it from I/O-based persistent media (disk, flash, etc.). This is the rationale for database management system (DBMS) caching mechanisms, which seek to predict which records will be requested, and hold this data in memory.

By Terry Stratoudakis, Executive Director, Wall Street FPGA LLC

FPGAs are customisable chips that are fast, deterministic, parallel, and just plain awesome. And in case you were wondering, they have nothing to do with golf, the PGA, or Pringles potato chips! FPGA is a four-letter F-word which you can say on television but won’t get a response unless you’re speaking to electrical engineers; and these days, high frequency traders. FPGAs conjure terms such as reconfigurable computing, reconfigurable hardware, hardware acceleration, floor planning, black magic, synthesis, schematic capture, multiple personalities, RTL, VHDL, Verilog, high level synthesis, place and route, and mapping.

By Peter Duffy, CTO, Sumerian

Peter DuffyLatency, n. The delay between the receipt of a stimulus and the response to it.

~The New Oxford American Dictionary

The dictionary’s definition of latency is fairly straightforward, but its generality highlights some of the challenges in defining latency within trading systems: what stimuli and responses are we talking about? The reality is that any trading system is composed of multiple components, and each of those components receives stimuli (input data) and produces responses (output data). In order to better understand the holistic latency that runs through all of these systems, it is useful to identify the different categories of latency that exist and discuss the potential solutions that are available for each of them.

Categorisations are always difficult and potentially subjective, but in my mind there are four distinct areas that need to be considered when thinking about latency in trading applications, and each of them has a number of different ways of contributing to holistic latency.