About a-team Marketing Services
The knowledge platform for the financial technology industry
The knowledge platform for the financial technology industry

A-Team Insight Blogs

FPGA Momentum Accelerates!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Perhaps it’s just me reacting to NIWeek, which just concluded here in Austin, but I seem to be noticing the F word – for FPGA (that’s Field Programmable Gate Array for you x86 guys) – cropping up more and more these days.  Could it be that these specialised ‘go faster, run cooler’ chips that have long been considered rather niche are finally becoming mainstream, even commonplace, for low-latency applications in the financial markets?

First, just to explain: NIWeek is the annual user conference for National Instruments, a local company that builds systems and tools for embedded computing.  One of its products is LabVIEW, a graphical design tool that – among other things – provides a rapid development environment for programming FPGAs.  Thanks to some introductions from Wall Street FPGA’s Terry Stratoudakis, I got to spend an evening with about a dozen FPGA geeks, some of whom were engaged in hush hush work for government intelligence agencies, while others were looking at launching FPGAs into outer space.  All of them, though, were very interested in what Wall Street is up to with their favorite technology.

The answer is: quite a lot, judging by various news releases coming my way of late.  Here are some highlights:

– Deutsche Bank’s Autobahn equities electronic trading business recently expanded its ?ltra FPGA products to the US, to provide pre-trade compliance and risk checks in its co-located trading apps at NYSE, NYSE Arca, Nasdaq, Direct Edge and Bats.  The claimed performance of the risk checks are 1.35 microseconds for OUCH messages and 1.75 microseconds for FIX messages.

– Nomura extended its NXT execution platform to Direct Edge’s co-lo centre at Equinix in Secaucus, NJ.  And it’s claiming latencies of under 1.8 microseconds for fixed-length exchange protocols and 2.8 microseconds for FIX.

– Fixnetix introduced its iX-eCute trading gateway, offering latencies as low as 740 nanoseconds wire-to-wire, with 20+ pre-trade risk checks in less than 100 nanoseconds.

– Burstream rolled out its managed market data service at Nasdaq’s co-lo and Telx’s proximity centre in Chicago, leveraging data feed handling and order book generation technology from NovaSparks.

– TS Associates updated its Application Tap precision time card to make more use of FPGAs for transferring data to host memory, reducing its performance overhead.

– Impulse Accelerated Technologies introduced an FPGA development kit for 10gE ITCH/OUCH protocol handling, allowing CPU/kernel bypass to application memory space.

– Maxeler introduced MaxNode10G, a platform designed for wire-speed processing of multiple 10 gigabit network data streams.

So there’s definite action, both by market participants deploying FPGAs – and pre-trade risk as mandated by the new SEC 15c3-5 regulation is the hot spot – and by a number of information and trading systems providers. And the published news is almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg … I’d love to know exactly what Getco is up to with FPGAs, for example.

Add to the above news snippets, ongoing development at vendors like Accelize, Activ Financial Systems, Exegy, Solace Systems, Celoxica, HFT Technologies, In-FPGA Trading Systems, RedDot Networks, Redline Trading Solutions (OK, they use Cell processors, not FPGAs but it’s the same kinda thing), Ullink and Wall Street FPGA – plus development tools such as Impulse’s C compiler and LabVIEW – and it all adds up.  Enough to say there’s momentum?  I’d say so.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related content

WEBINAR

Recorded Webinar: Transforming Data Experiences in Quantitative Research and Trading

For quantitative researchers and quant trading teams at banking and capital markets firms, the ability to access, integrate, and share data is critical. Data and how teams collaborate with data underpins the ability to generate alpha, perform execution analyses, and provide a modern and differentiated client experience. However, for most banks, legacy technology stacks and...

BLOG

The Six Key Technology Challenges Facing the Trading Stack

By Dave Carson, Head of Field Engineering at DiffusionData. The challenges I want to discuss are those that are affecting every trading participant today, including exchanges, data providers, banks and hedge funds. These include: Controlling the Firehose of Data With the rise of electronic trading, data volumes have spiralled. As technology continues to advance, so...

EVENT

RegTech Summit London

Now in its 7th year, the RegTech Summit in London will bring together the RegTech ecosystem to explore how the European capital markets financial industry can leverage technology to drive innovation, cut costs and support regulatory change.

GUIDE

Institutional Digital Assets Handbook 2023

After initial hesitancy, interest in digital assets from institutional market participants has grown over the past three to four years. Early focus inevitably centred on the market opportunities presented by bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. But this has evolved into a broad acceptance of a potentially meaningful role for digital assets in institutional markets. It’s now...