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<nettime> "Modern Computer Systems Are Complex - Film at 11"
David Mandl on Sat, 24 Aug 2013 10:37:06 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> "Modern Computer Systems Are Complex - Film at 11"


Lots of interesting things going on here:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/aug/23/nasdaq-crash-data

Anyone who has worked on an electronic trading system and didn't
see this coming shouldn't be allowed to work on electronic trading
systems. As a technologist I actually found working on these kinds
of systems uninteresting and often frightening. Its clear that they
are simply too complex for comfort--I'd say that many of the biggest
systems are literally beyond the ken of *anyone*, even the smartest
programmers. There are too many thousands of moving parts, too much
spit and scotch tape, too many barely compatible components written
by a dozen people of varying skill levels who left the company three
years ago.

AFAIC it's always been a matter of when, not if. Systems 1/100 the
complexity of Nasdaq's have problems all the time that you'll never
hear about. Supporting one of these beasts is like being in charge of
a hundred kittens, making sure they all stay exactly where they're
supposed to at all times.

Side note: Interesting how everyone quoted in the article blames this
mess on their favorite villain, including Big Data, which has nothing
to do with the Wall Street failures (and probably not the others,
either).

I won't blow my own horn and mention this vaguely related piece I
wrote for the Register last year:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/21/financial_software_disasters/

Oops.

A good weekend to all of you.

   --Dave.

--
Dave Mandl
dmandl {AT} panix.com
davem {AT} wfmu.org
Web: http://dmandl.tumblr.com/
Twitter:  {AT} dmandl
Instagram: dmandl




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