IMC Annual Report 2018 - Page 32



8.1 INSIDE THE IMC LAB:
PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF TECHNOLOGY
“This is where the magic happens,”
For Erdinc, who studied electronic
conflicting; you can provide a solution
jokes Erdinc, Head of Execution,
engineering and Media informatics
that is super-fast at the cost of quality
Amsterdam, using a swipe card
– a computer science program
and agility but that would be easy.
to enter a secure area at IMC’s
focused on digital media – it’s
An execution engineer has to provide
Amsterdam office, housing three
Aladdin’s cave. Replicating the set-
solutions that ticks all these boxes.
interconnected rooms. “It should
up at a stock exchange in a secure,
be tidier,” he says apologetically.
controlled environment, it’s where
Technology makes what we do
Hard-drives, servers, circuit
IMC developers experiment without
possible. When I started versus where
boards, cables; drawers containing
fear of tripping a switch or pulling
we are now, there are magnitudes of
various technical components;
out the wrong cable. Indeed pulling
difference. That’s because of our agile
most of which wouldn’t look out
things out and plugging things in
approach to technology. We focus
of place in your average DIY store.
where it looks like they might not
on automation as much as possible.
But first impressions are deceptive.
belong is actively encouraged.
We continuously use the feedback
we get to improve our solutions. That
The work done here is pushing the
innovation envelope. On the floor
“The way I see it, my role is
combination allows us to turn things
is a black box, roughly the size of
executing the idea that’s in the
around really fast. We produce our
a stereo speaker, with a couple of
trader’s mind,” Erdinc explains. “He
own technology when we believe
cables sticking out of it. It’s a ‘time
wants to do a trade and I want to
it gives us an edge, and we are not
machine’ measuring picoseconds.
provide the opportunity to do it as
scared to take those steps. And we
A picosecond is to one second as
fast as possible and to explore these
have the best engineers to make
one second is to 31,689 years.
ideas as fast as possible. Latency
that happen.”
is only one of the elements. You
32
A wall of servers sprouts multi-
have three dimensions: latency/
Surprisingly, it took some persuading
coloured cables, blinking lights
throughput, robustness and agility.
for Erdinc to join IMC. “A friend was
and switches. Servers due to be
Naturally you want to be first
working here and kept insisting
shipped to an exchange are being
because lots of people want to do
I come and visit. For two years I
customised. It’s the hands-on
the same trade, but, at the same
said no because I was finishing my
element that is often forgotten
time, you are processing a lot of
masters. But eventually I decided to
amid all the talk of advanced
data so you want to be as precise
check it out and it was love at first
technology and high-speed
as possible. You need high-quality
sight. I had no idea about trading, or
connectivity. Often it comes down
solutions because you connect
options, or financial markets. What
to nothing more sophisticated
to the biggest exchanges around
matters was what’s at the core of
than a tweak with a screwdriver.
the world and you don’t want any
this company: I’m a competitive
But that would be to miss the
hiccups. Last but not least, you
person, who likes to learn and
point. For this is serious science.
want to be agile because everything
improve. I didn’t know trading but
Not for nothing does Erdinc drop
changes every day: the exchanges
I learned, and the more I learned,
references to CERN, the Swiss-
change, the traders have new ideas,
the more I enjoyed it because it
French research centre where
the regulations change. So, you
enabled to me to understand and
nuclear physicists seek answers
need to adapt your solutions as
do my job better. We’re a trading
about the universe, and where the
quickly as possible. When you look
company but we’re pushing the
World Wide Web was born.
at all these dimensions, they are
boundaries of technology.”
IMC Annual Report 2018
33

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