STAC FPGA SIG

The field-programmable gate array (FPGA) is a mainstream technology in financial markets. FPGAs are currently used for performance-sensitive workloads such as network I/O acceleration, market data processing, execution of realtime trading logic, and pre-trade risk computation. The problem sets to which they are applied are likely to expand.

However, finance is just one industry among many in the FPGA marketplace, and finance firms have not had a way to speak with one voice. In addition, there are many non-proprietary challenges in FPGA development that all firms would benefit from solving, if only there were a forum in which they could discuss them.

The STAC FPGA Special Interest Group (SIG) is a way to bridge both of these gaps. The SIG was formed in October of 2020 by an initial group of 7 organizations, including dealers, proprietary trading firms, exchanges, and hedge funds. It is now open to additional members.

While the group’s mission will evolve, its initial objectives are:

  1. Facilitate dialog regarding common challenges in FPGA design, development, testing, and deployment.
  2. Articulate industry requirements for FPGA hardware and toolchains where commonalities exist.
  3. Outline a series of best practices in the development and use of FPGA in financial services.

Meetings are currently by telecon, and members of the group are free to participate in whichever activities they find valuable.

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Note that the FPGA SIG does not define benchmarks. So far, the benchmark specifications most commonly applied to FPGA solutions are defined by the STAC Network I/O SIG and STAC-TS Working Group (time sync and capture).

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