Perspectives and Fun Facts about The Hummingbird Project

Strength of will and competitive drive reign supreme in The Hummingbird Project.

Perspectives and Fun Facts about The Hummingbird ProjectBy Jasmine Noel    April 3, 2019      Events

As with most things in life, it’s safe to assume that each person will see what she/he wants to out of The Hummingbird Project.

There are no shortage of people in the world who will look for every opportunity to assert the evils of Wall Street. The excesses, culture, and irresponsibility portrayed in Liar’s Poker, Wall Street, Flashboys, Wolf of Wall Street, etc. will no doubt conjure images of heartless, unmitigated greed.

As a result, a healthy dose of curiosity accompanied the audience at our private screening of this movie, where the focus was building a faster network to deliver a business advantage. As luck would have it, the mix of Hollywood plot devices and seemingly familiar anecdotes and stereotypes for anyone who has been involved in FinTech, made for an enjoyable event.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

For me, some of the things that rang true were:

  • The strange sources of inspiration that lead to breakthroughs
  • The unexpected things that impact the success of a project
  • The inescapable intertwining of technology and business success and failure and the competitive drive that fuels development and deployment of the next new thing to gain advantages
  • The friendships that keep people going

Some of the plot devices that were a bit off, however, served to drive some of the post-movie conversations. In terms of where the filmmaker took some interesting liberties...

  • Months to troubleshoot trading latency problems, seemed a stretch for a firm so focused on minimizing latency to have so little to help them see why their systems are performing as they do
  • Most of today’s development focus is at the microsecond level requiring the ability to measure nanoseconds accurately
  • Referring to the plural of software code as “codes” (e.g., “These are my codes.”) seems odd when algorithms are everywhere in trading

Some additional movie trivia and fun facts:

A Working Optical Network was Built
Wanting to create a realistic datacenter space, the movie directors tapped Belden a leading manufacturer of Cabling & Fiber Optics as a consultant to train the cast on how to properly run and setup their network.1

Fiber vs Microwave did Happen
Few outside of the trading universe probably will recognize the source material as being the story of using technology to shrink latency between Chicago and New York. Spread Networks straighter fiber network completed in 2010 took round trips times to ~13 milliseconds. McKay Brothers – minus Selma Hayek’s spying and bullying tactics – completed their microwave network in 2012 at ~9 milliseconds.2

Neutrino Fascination
Anton’s fascination was probably inspired by a 2012 Wired article on high frequency trading that in the concluding paragraphs included this quote:

It is only a matter of time, perhaps a few decades, says Alexander Wissner-Gross, a Harvard physicist, before some hedge fund decides it needs a particle accelerator to generate neutrinos, and then everyone will want one. Yes, they travel slower than light, but they indisputably can tunnel through the earth, cutting thousands of miles off an intercontinental message.3

1 Source: IMDB
2 Sources: McKay Brothers, Wikipedia
3 Source: Wired

Perspectives and Fun Facts about The Hummingbird Project

Jasmine Noel, Product Marketing & Sales Enablement, Corvil
Corvil is the leader in performance monitoring and analytics for electronic financial markets. The world’s financial markets companies turn to Corvil analytics for the unique visibility and intelligence we provide to assure the speed, transparency, and compliance of their businesses globally. Corvil watches over and assures the outcome of electronic transactions with a value in excess of $1 trillion, every day.
@corvilinc

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