High Frequency Trading – what is a millisecond?

Every mili second countsContinuing with the theme of High Frequency Trading here is a graphic from the New York Times which gives you a description of what a millisecond is. The importance of speed in HFT is imperative if you are going to make money. Below is an extract from Kevin Slavin’s TED talk (See video clip below) which shows the lengths that some will go to get closer to the internet.

‘the algorithms of Wall Street are dependent on one quality above all else, which is speed. And they operate on milliseconds and microseconds. And just to give you a sense of what microseconds are, it takes you 500,000 microseconds just to click a mouse. But if you’re a Wall Street algorithm and you’re five microseconds behind, you’re a loser. So if you were an algorithm, you’d look for an architect like the one that I met in Frankfurt who was hollowing out a skyscraper — throwing out all the furniture, all the infrastructure for human use, and just running steel on the floors to get ready for the stacks of servers to go in — all so an algorithm could get close to the Internet.’

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