I have a need for speed. A most poignant phrase for Intel's Nehalem (Xeon 5500) Processor Series. Earlier this week with great fanfare Intel launched their new Xeon 5550 Processor at the NASDAQ MarketSite Tower in New York. It was a spectacular event with mammoth displays, videos, demonstrations, guest speakers and a grand crowd enjoying the sights, the news and of course the abundant refreshments. I had the privilege of a front-row seat during the keynote from Sean Maloney, Intel's Executive VP for Sales and Marketing. In that keynote presentation Sean spoke of the vast performance gains Intel has attained with the Xeon 5500 processor over previous generations in performance yet with lower power consumption. The main thrust of Sean's address was to stress the relevance of the Xeon 5500 to Wall Street.
To showcase this relevance Intel chose a few of their key partners to be part of this keynote presentation, the Apama CEP Platform, Rapid Addition and Thomson Reuters. Sean, with the assistance of his colleague Adam Moran, did the demonstrations themselves in front of a crowd of about 200+ Wall Street dignitaries and a crew from the press. I had that front row seat to answer any follow on questions stemming from the demonstrations.
To showcase both the Apama CEP platform and the Intel Xeon 5500 Processor, which we did in two distinct demonstrations for Sean, we wanted to highlight the scalable architecture of the Apama platform with something that is near and dear to Wall Street - profit. For the first demonstration, we took one of our standard high-frequency, alpha-seeking strategies (Statistical Arbitrage), scaled it to 1600 instances across 16 threads on 8 cores. During the demonstration market data was piped into all 1600 instances at a whirlwind pace, measuring the throughput and monitoring the overall P&L. This of course was done on both the new Xeon 5500 (code-name Nehalem) and the previous generation of processors, Xeon 5400 (code-name Harpertown). A visual of the side-by-side comparison was watched live by the crowd on dashboards which I've captured below:
Xeon 5400 (Harpertown) showing the baseline of the performance benchmark for a high-frequency Trading Strategy (Stat-Arb)
Xeon 5500 (Nehalem) showing the improvements achieved in Profit and Throughput for a high-frequency Trading Strategy (Stat-Arb)
The two main improvements achieved by the Nehalem processors are more than doubling of throughput (2.31 vs. 1.01) and a greater profit margin ($15,688,647 vs. $7,504,386). The increased profit was achieved through an increase in the number of arbitrage opportunities due to greater throughput. All this across the same market data over the same time span.
The second demonstration Sean and Adam presented was the Apama Smart Order Router which was also run on both processor generations (Nehalem and Harpertown) showing the performance gains in Order processing achievable by the Nehalem processor technology.
With the most recent version of the Apama CEP product, we've provided not just a scalable platform but a complete stack, which has always been our vision. One of scalability and usability. We offer tooling for developers and analysts alike. The Apama platform includes a full-fledged event processing language (EPL), dashboard designer and graphical modeling tools. Yet we've not ignored the java developers out there, we support a java language binding to our CEP engine that can play along side our EPL and modeling tools. Behind that scalable CEP engine, it's connectivity that makes a platform real, thus we provide over 50 adapters to market data, order and execution venues, and standard databases and message buses.
Intel also did a UK launch of the Nehalem in London on April 1st, the day after the New York launch where my colleague Gareth Smith, the Apama Product Manager was a panelist. He spoke on our experiences partnering with Intel over these past few months.
Nehalem is truly a remarkable achievement by Intel, in fact they've publicly stated it's the most significant processor achievement since the Pentium Pro release back in 1995. I was proud to be part of this significant event and its possibilities for Apama, the CEP industry and Capital Markets. After the main speaking engagements I spoke with numerous people equally exuberant. As I've often said, in Capital Markets we're on a race to the micro-second. We've just edged a bit closer.
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