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State machine replication and the modern exchange

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Electronic exchanges play an important role in the world’s financial system, acting as focal points where actors from across the world meet to trade with each other.

But building an exchange is a difficult technical challenge, requiring high transaction rates, low, determinstic response times, and serious reliability.

We’ll look at the question of how to design an exchange through the lens of JX, a system that, while not an exchange, is similar in design to many major US exchanges. JX is designed from the ground up around state machine replication, a classic distributed systems technique.

This choice has profound effects on the resulting system, providing a simple framework for building a reliable platform, while at the same time requiring very careful performance engineering to make it work effectively. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of the design, and consider the lessons it provides for other transaction processing systems.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Tech Talks series.

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