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News Link • Technology: Software

Dear Mystery Algorithm That Hogged Global Financial Trading Last Week: What Do You Want?

• http://www.popsci.com, By Clay Dillow
 In markets, as in war and medical research and just about everything else, technology tends to impart an advantage. And, as we’ve recently seen with concepts for 3-D printed handguns, the rate of technological innovation often far outpaces the law’s ability to address potentially dangerous developments. This is how a single computer program of mysterious origins managed to make up 4 percent of all quote traffic in the U.S. stock market last week while hoarding 10 percent of the bandwidth allowed for trading on any given day.

That’s scary. No one knows where the program came from, what it’s really doing, or why it failed to actually execute a single trade--though there are plenty of theories. None of which is comforting. Scarier still: This kind of thing most certainly happens more often than we realize, and it happens without any kind of oversight.

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