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Beowulf Huckster

A mutual fund using your computer's spare cycles
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I saw this article in the NYT (linked). It’s about supercomputers being used for high-frequency stock trading. More broadly, it says that rules allowing electronic trading were supposed to open the gates of Wall Street to any small investor with a PC, but now big firms who can afford massive supercomputers are out-calculating and out-trading them every second.

This means that there is direct value in processor cycles. If only big firms can afford supercomputers, why not have a sort of fund where you contribute your spare computer power from your home PC? This could create a large cluster that would outperform any single supercomputer. Then, everyone who contributed processor cycles could be compensated with the money created from the fund.

Of course, the problem there is: what if the fund loses money, instead? Would everyone be on the hook for that? Perhaps a better idea might be a sort of intermediary: if my processor cycles are worth money, I could rent out my spare cycles dynamically through a service that would lend them to people who want extra power, like high-volume trading firms. The price would be set by whatever each firm is willing to pay at the time, which they would determine, in turn, by what they need and how important or economical it is. The service would take a cut from the transaction and pass the rest on to me.

Cherry Cotton, Jul 25 2009

The article link=http://www.nyt...html?pagewanted=all
[Cherry Cotton, Jul 25 2009]

Beowulf computing http://en.wikipedia...Beowulf_(computing)
[RayfordSteele, Jul 26 2009]

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       The key sentence from the article is: "some housed right next to the machines that drive marketplaces like the New York Stock Exchange"   

       Location is critical, sending the data for processing half-way around the world over slow DSL/cable modem lines won't work. [-]
ixnaum, Jul 25 2009

       First rule of economics: if everybody wins too often, they call that inflation.
RayfordSteele, Jul 25 2009

       If you lose too often, he comes to your house, tears your arms off and beats you to death with them.
BunsenHoneydew, Jul 26 2009



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