Tim Quast
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We're All HFTs Now

In this guest commentary, author Tim Quast looks back at the history of HFT and how the market has evolved to where many firms now fit the definition of high-frequency trader.

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November 2, 2011

Nasdaq Goes Nano

By John D'Antona Jr.

Nasdaq OMX prop traders and high-frequency traders can now get their market data hyper-quickly-in nanoseconds, rather than microseconds.

Burstream, a low-latency data provider geared toward HFTs, can get traders data in about 600 nanoseconds with its new NanoSpeed Market Data Mesh, said chief executive Paul Barringer.

A microsecond is one-millionth of a second, while a nanosecond is one-billionth of a second.

"The difference between a 600-nanospeed feed versus a 10-microsecond feed is equivalent to traveling 600 feet versus 10 miles," Barringer said.

The service is based on a high-performance infrastructure that uses field programmable gate array, or FPGA, feed handlers and order book managers. Burstream takes raw market data directly from the matching engines and uses customizable FPGA technology, rather than printed circuit boards to normalize the data and deliver it to customer trading servers.

The FPGA feed handlers and order book managers enable the trading algorithms to access market data near the speed of light, with no slowdowns during market bursts, Barringer said.

Data Mesh is in operation at Nasdaq's Carteret, N.J. data center. There are plans to connect to the CME, NYSE, NYSE Arca, BATS, Direct Edge and ICE sometime in the fourth quarter.


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