Post by Dirk Munk
We have had several discussion about accurate timekeeping and latency in
this group lately.
Let me add a nice excerpt from a news article on this matter.
The BBC has a news article on its web site, called "Tick tock: The
importance of knowing the right time". It is written by Tim Hadford, who
is also writing for The Financial Times.
"Some financiers recently calculated it was worth spending $300 million
drilling through mountains between Chicago and New York to lay
fibre-optic cables in a slightly straighter line. That sped up
communication between the two cities' exchanges by three milliseconds."
Tim Harford (nb spelling) is the Undercover Economist at the
Financial Times and also presents the generally excellent
BBC Radio 4 programme "More or Less", which is "the BBC's
guide to statistics in the news and in life" - a co-production
with the Open University. Lots of "more or less" related stuff
on the web, much of which should be available outside the UK.
I suspect that in the case of financial trading etc it's being
3 milliseconds (or whatever) *faster than the competition* that
matters, not specifically the absolute timing. When something
hits the market wires, and you're 5ms behind your competition
in responding (buying/selling before the price changes much),
you're nowhere, at least in the world of high performance
If you can be 3ms ahead of your competition by spending huge
amounts of (other people's) money that the competition can't
afford, e.g. to build a 'shorter' network route that others
can only access for an extortionate fee, well what's not to
Other less drastic options are available but may not be
directly relevant to the normal business of comp.os.vms...