STAC Summit, 18 May 2023, Chicago

STAC Summits

STAC Summits bring together CTOs and other industry leaders responsible for solution architecture, infrastructure engineering, application development, machine learning/deep learning engineering, data engineering, and operational intelligence to discuss important technical challenges in trading and investment.

The Metropolitan Club
Willis Tower
233 South Wacker Drive
66th Floor



Click on the session titles to view the slides.

STAC Update: Machine learningMachine Learning   Fast Compute   Big Compute   

Peter and Bishop will discuss the latest research and STAC Benchmark Council activities related to machine learning, including updates on inference and training workloads. Peter will also present results from recent STAC-ML audits.

Is everyone a developer now? The impact of LLMs on software developmentMachine Learning   

GPT-4 and other generative AI could be creating a watershed moment for the software development life cycle. In everything from Python to C++ and even VHDL/FPGA, large language models (LLMs) are starting to help with code generation, reviews, documentation, and testing—including creating data sets to probe the edges of algorithms. No one wants to be left behind, but adoption requires answering critical questions. Will LLMs provide great leaps in productivity or only incremental assistance? Can they turn English into an effective programming language (even enabling someone with no coding experience to develop software)? Do we risk automating the errors and poor code too often found on Stack Overflow and developer blogs? Can we benefit without leaking our trade secrets or violating someone else's copyrights? Our panel of experts will examine the extent to which financial firms and their engineers can leverage LLMs to boost productivity, improve software quality, and accelerate time to market. Along the way, they'll consider security and bug risks, as well as the guardrails needed to keep our software—and markets—safe. Join them to discuss how to benefit from the bleeding edge. To kick off, some of the panelists provided a short presentation:

  "Adopting an Effective LLM Platform: Key Considerations for Success"
   Alex Gonzalez, Machine Learning/Deep Learning Solutions Engineer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  "Large language Models for Systematic Algo/Discretionary trading incl. Alternative Data"
   Prabhu Ramamoorthy, CFA, FRM, CAIA, Customer/Partner Developer Relationship Manager, NVIDIA
STAC Update: Big workloadsBig Data   Fast Compute   Big Compute   

Bishop and Peter will present the latest STAC Benchmark Council activities in storage and compute critical workloads, including STAC-M3 (the full stack needed for enterprise tick analytics) and STAC-A3 (strategy backtesting).

Innovation RoundupBig Data   Big Compute   
  "Constant performance, continuous innovation"
   Paula Clarke, Senior Presales Engineer, KX
  "Alpha Generation at Exabyte Scale"
   Mike McLaughlin, Sr. Systems Engineer, VAST Data
  "AMD Together We Advance Financial Services"
   Alastair Richardson, Strategic Business Development Director, Data Center and Communications Group, AMD
Can object stores lift your data?Big Data   Big Compute   

Trading and investment firms must gain an advantage over the vast and ever-growing data they process, store, and analyze. Object stores, originally used for low-cost snapshots and archives, now bring space and cost savings to mission-critical applications. Could they be the lever that financial firms need? For object stores to provide leverage, everyone from storage architects to software developers needs to understand them. Our panel of experts will discuss important aspects, including use cases the performance is suitable for, how get/pull differs from read/write, integrating existing storage solutions and analytic stacks, and how moving this cloud-native technology on-prem impacts hybrid systems. Join us to explore how object stores can help you shoulder the weight of data. To kick off, some of the panelists provided a short presentation:

  "OBJ at the speed of light!"
   Michael Rothenberg, Global UDS Business Development, Financial Trading & Energy, Dell Technologies
  "Architectures for Explosive Data Growth - Efficiently Handling AI, Analytics and Distributed Data"
   Keith Miller, VP Technical Sales, Services and Support, DDN
  "Pure Innovation: A new Era of Scale"
   Rob Glanzman, Global Strategic Alliances Principal Architect, Financial Services, Pure Storage
STAC Update: Cloud CommunicationsFast Data   Big Data   

Peter will discuss the latest STAC Benchmark Council updates on defining cloud communication benchmarks for on-prem-to-cloud and cloud-to-cloud communications

Trading ecosystems in the cloud: Architecting for the inevitable?Fast Data  Big Data  Fast Compute  Big Compute  

As we've discussed at past STAC events, exchanges and central service providers are moving important functions into the cloud. Matching in traditional asset classes may take a while to migrate, but the logic for many surrounding functions is compelling. Trading firms will either want or need to follow suit, which means architecting for cloud has become critical. This raises many questions for an industry that has relied mostly on on-premises solutions. Which functions are likely to become most common in the cloud, over what time horizon? What kind of throughput, latency, and consistency can the cloud provide? How will the technologies that financial firms have come to rely on be adapted to the cloud? How should architects handle infrastructure decisions such as whether to go hybrid cloud or multi-cloud? Join our panelists as they dive into these questions and yours.

Is the cloud ready for low-latency messaging?Fast Data   Big Data   

Low and consistent messaging latency are fundamental requirements for trading infrastructure. Kernel bypass technologies and UDP—both often discussed at STAC events—are dominant tools in on-prem, low-latency messaging but are largely absent in public clouds. Can trading workloads migrate to the cloud without them and still be successful? James thinks success is possible if you embrace different techniques and leave the "lift-and-shift" approach behind. He'll examine common issues when communicating between processes and containers over a software-defined IP network. He'll also cover emerging patterns that help overcome the challenges, including kernel bypass in the cloud, IPC, and simulated multicast. Along the way, he'll address how developers can modify software to take advantage of these patterns and achieve fanout. Be sure to bring your questions for James as he explores if the cloud can support your messaging needs.

Innovation RoundupFast Data   Fast Compute   
  "LSEG Overview of low latency solutions"
   Josh Chou, Solutions Consultant - Low Latency, Refinitiv, an LSEG Business
  "Ultra Low Latency Market Data for Everyone"
   Cliff Maddox, Director of Business Development, NovaSparks
  "Advancing the role of the reseller"
   Tom Stephens, CEO, Techary
Ethernet multicast congestion control: What works and what does not.Fast Data   

Network engineers building reliable multicast on high-speed ethernet depend on hardware and software mechanisms to avoid packet drops and latency spikes, but this dependency isn't always well-founded. In fact, while porting their infrastructure from Infiniband to ethernet, Deutsche Boerse engineers have encountered several issues with multicast congestion control. They have found that while congestion control often works for unicast, the same cannot be said for multicast. For example, the back pressure Deutsche Boerse has relied on for years to slow down senders and avoid retransmissions during microbursts is implemented differently from vendor to vendor, if implemented at all. Christoph will discuss the issues they've uncovered and his experience working with different hardware, protocols, and vendors to develop a solution. Bring your questions for Christoph and learn from his experience.

STAC Update: Fast dataFast Data   

Peter will discuss updates from the FPGA special interest group and the latest results and STAC Benchmark Council activities related to low-latency/high-throughput realtime workloads.

Innovation RoundupFast Data
  "Fast Cancel For All: How to leverage CME's new feature with nxAccess"
   Laurent de Barry, Director, Hardware Trading Solutions, Exegy
  "Introducing LDA Revo: a specialized high-density device for line arbitration"
   Vahan Sardaryan, Co-Founder and CEO, LDA Technologies
  "Winning the Race to Ultra-Low Latency Trade Execution with Orthogone's ULL FPGA Framework and AMD Alveo X3 Series"
   Jean-François Gagnon, Ultra-Low Latency FPGA Solutions Architect, Orthogone
Can trading transition to 25G?Fast Data   

Migration to 25G, 40G, and 100G Ethernet is in full swing among enterprises and cloud providers, but exchange connections and trading infrastructures have resolutely remained at or below a 10G ceiling. It is tempting to believe this will always be so. But ever-increasing data rates and the need for larger data sets create mounting pressure for more bandwidth. Will trading be able to resist the pressure forever? Dave will explore whether the industry can change to 25G, along with several related questions. What impact will 25G have on low-latency infrastructure, not to mention timestamping, data capture, and operational support? Will firms use forward error correction, given the latency hit, and if not, how can they manage the data risk? How will more bandwidth impact market microstructure, and will it enable more insight into exchange behaviors? Join Dave as he looks at a possible future of trading networks.

FPGAs beyond ultra-low latency?Fast Data   Fast Compute   Big Compute   

It's no secret that FPGAs are a favorite component for ultra-low latency system engineers. Firms can gain a significant edge by placing relatively simple trading strategies in an FPGA to avoid user space entirely. But what role can FPGAs play in more complex, compute-hungry strategies? Can FPGAs combine with other processors in quant-based trades or critical pricing algorithms? For that matter, does FPGA have a home outside real-time decision-making, such as in research infrastructures? Join our panelists as they discuss these questions and yours on the future of FPGAs in capital markets. To kick off, some of the panelists provided a short presentation:

  "FPGA Hardware Acceleration in Electronic Trading, AI, and Data Analytics"
   Matt Certosimo, Data Center FPGA Field Application Engineer, AMD
  "The Edge of the Edge: PCB Latency in Trading Reaction Time"
   Adam Sherer, Verification Technology Executive, Cadence Design Systems