Jeffrey M. Birnbaum of 60 East Technologies on HPC trends and trading technology
Just recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Jeffrey M. Birnbaum, CEO & Co-founder of 60 East Technologies.
60East Technologies has an innovative publish and subscribe engine designed specifically for next generation computing environments. It is intended to allow the realization of the scalable high-throughput, low-latency messaging that is required in real-time deployments like financial services.
Keep reading to see what transpired:
Me: What is the most significant advancement to impact your industry and how is it influencing your work?
Jeff: The most current advancement to come along in the last two decades is the revolution of non-volatile memory as a persistent memory tier. We are only scratching the surface of how this new memory tier can be used to build systems that outperform and outscale similar systems that were built in the last few years. This technology allows reinventing all kind of software from database to messaging systems.
Me: What challenges do innovating trading technology systems present on a regular basis?
Jeff: The balance between processing, network and storage IO in a world where the compute platform continues to evolve. NUMA based machines with high core counts present challenges in terms of achieving peak performance. New programming techniques and system design concepts are required on a daily basis because most of what has been discovered in the past decade is no longer relevant.
Me: What future trends are you keeping a close eye on, and why?
Jeff: There are three future trends that I find interesting and compelling:
1. Software Defined Networking (SDN) – the melding of compute and network
I believe SDN will result in a new suite of applications that will reap significant benefits from combining highly parallel compute with high velocity networking especially with respect to scale and latency.
2. Advancements in Non-Volatile Memory
3. Software transaction memory
I believe Software transactional memory will open up a whole new way of writing programs in a less error prone manner with the promise of higher levels of performance without adding huge amounts of complexity.
Me: What has been your biggest professional achievement or advancement to date?
Jeff: Back in late 2000, just after the Linux 2.4 kernel was released I had the wild idea that Linux could be used for trading systems on Wall Street. I worked for one of the big Investment banks and I proposed that we transition most of our Unix environment to Intel Xeon chips running Linux. The first application was our market data system and was a huge success. Slightly more than a decade later, Linux and Intel Xeon are the de-facto standard platform for trading.
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