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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Esmeralda Swartz, Andy Jonak, Carmen Gonzalez

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Argon Design’s Ultra-low Latency HFT Options Trading System Goes Live

Argon Design, a design services company specializing in complex digital systems announced today that it has developed an ultra-low latency financial trading system for a proprietary trading house doing latency arbitrage on one of the leading exchanges in the Americas.

The full trading platform which includes functions from real time market data ingestion through algorithm support to FIX-based order placement went live in May 2014. It builds on the groundbreaking results Argon announced in September 2013 for high performance trading using a hybrid design of FPGA and x86 technologies. This combines fast paths implemented in FPGA to give nanosecond level tick-to-trade responses to key events together with opportunity setup, parameter determination and system management on a high-performance x86 server.

The best of breed hardware comprises a Supermicro Hyper-Speed server with Dual Intel Xeon E5 processors assembled and supplied by Bios IT, as well as an Arista 7124FX switch with integrated Stratix V FPGA.

The FPGA logic uses a number of optimization techniques developed by Argon to maximize the speed advantage. These include in-line parsing, pre-emption, inference and gateway arbitration. To power the various inference techniques, the FPGA includes complex logic to build and maintain order books and statistics. FAST/FIX parsing is done in at most 64ns, and order book building is completed in 32ns. For the lowest latency network interfaces, the system uses Tamba Networks’ terminal latency 1G MAC.

The managing partner of the trading house commented “As exchanges become more deterministic, it is important to have a platform that gives a speed advantage as well as smart trading strategies. The Argon system has given us that edge.”

Steve Barlow, CTO of Argon Design commented “High performance trading continues to be active across worldwide markets. As it arguably becomes more niche, to win will need access to both high performance technologies and the skills to select and assemble the necessary parts. At Argon we believe in the detail of specialized engineering – every client is different and hence we develop bespoke systems which give the vital edge.”

About Argon Design

Argon Design was founded in 2009 and operates at the heart of the world-renowned Cambridge Technology Cluster with access to the markets’ leading intellect. In the financial trading sector, Argon Design assists in-house teams by providing specialist skills or additional resources for projects as well as complete bespoke designs in areas such as:

• Heterogeneous hardware and software system architecture

• Appliance design and production

• FPGA-based development/programming

• Many-core processor hardware and software design using Tilera, Intel and others

• Network processing

• GPU development/programming and OpenCL

For further information please visit: http://www.argondesign.com.

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