Wall Street Turns to Video Game Tech

June 19, 2008 -

The street of dreams is paying attention to video game tech these days, and not just in terms of potential investments.

Wall Street & Technology reports that the same graphics processors (GPUs) employed in modern game consoles are powering specialized financial displays.

Frank Tan, a Deutsche Bank options trader, told WS&T:

With the advancement of computer gaming and graphics technology like PlayStation and Xbox, these graphics cards are a lot more capable [than ever]. The idea is to use the GPUs for financial calculations rather than playing games and generating graphics...

 

First, there is the sheer number of messages and data coming in... Every time the underlying price changes, or if there is a shift in the options quotes, the options prices... have to be recomputed. The GPU has the capability to solve the second computational issue. Before GPU technology came out, in order to solve this problem in real time, you would have to buy supercomputers.

 


Comments

Re: Wall Street Turns to Video Game Tech

Suuuure they need video cards capable of running crysis to do math on. And I needed my amiga to "help me do homework"

Ironically I really DID do homework on it but I got it for gaming.

I'm a bit surprised at this track though, I'd have thought multicore CPUs with specialised software designed to use one core for general use & then others for floating point stuff.

Re: Wall Street Turns to Video Game Tech

I think it's a question of Price to be honest, when the solution is already available, why spend more money than you need to?

Re: Wall Street Turns to Video Game Tech

I think with the Cell processor's capabilities we'll be seeing things like this a lot more often. Sure, the Cell is a CPU and not a GPU, but when you see them using the Cell to power the current world's fastest supercomputer, you'll see a lot more people realizing that its not just for games. I wouldn't be surprised if the business world started taking stock of Cell processors and started using them more heavily for servers.

Re: Wall Street Turns to Video Game Tech

IBM already sells mainframes that use them.

Re: Wall Street Turns to Video Game Tech

Yea, but as far as I know they aren't widespread yet. What I was meaning is that in a few years it wouldn't surprise me if Cell processors became a dominant force in the server world. It only makes sense that IBM would use, and most likely convert to solely using, them over time since they were a major player in their developement.

I just have a feeling we'll start seeing other companies using them as well. For instance, Cisco might start using them in routers or we'll be able to build our own Cell-based servers like we can with Opterons and the like. Of course, homebrew servers using Cell processors is a bit of a stretch for the time being at least, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if I saw a major IT company like Cisco pick up on them for use in large scale routers, such as core routers, over the next couple years.

Re: Wall Street Turns to Video Game Tech

Yup, this isn't the first time the GPU has been used for non-graphical work, but it's still pretty clever ;)

Re: Wall Street Turns to Video Game Tech

 I find this rather amusing.  Most people forget that Graphics Cards are just CPUs with specialized purposes.

 

 I wouldn't be surprised if they start using the PS3's Cell-Processors too.  It is, by all accounts, a marvel of computer engineering.

Re: Wall Street Turns to Video Game Tech

"Most people forget that Graphics Cards are just CPUs with specialized purposes."

...so why can't they just use a regular CPU, instead?

Re: Wall Street Turns to Video Game Tech

 GPUs do a lot of floating point calculations, which most financial data is composed of. So they are ideal for crunching this type of data.

Re: Wall Street Turns to Video Game Tech

the architecture is a lot different from a cpu. they process things differently.

Re: Wall Street Turns to Video Game Tech

Basically, the cards are designed to do a particular kind of mathematics very very quickly indeed, and those mathematics are heavily involved in Financial equations as well, for example, working out where 2 projection lines cross in a financial model is not a million miles from finding out where 2 vectors intersect in a 3D Graphics environment.

Re: Wall Street Turns to Video Game Tech

They could, but CPUs are designed to handle many tasks. A GPU is designed to do one thing and do it well, so it's going to be better at it than a CPU of equivalent cost and/or power.

 
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