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Acid Rain & Colo Crazies

12:30 PM -- Acid rain, gaming in Vegas, and crazy co-locators were all on the agenda at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) technology conference in New York City yesterday.

Keynote speaker Howard Lutnick, CEO of financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, explained that the technology behind his company's bond trading systems is finding its way onto the casino floor. "We take our technology and use it in the gaming space," he said. Systems from Cantor have already landed in Vegas hot spots such as the Venetian and the Hard Rock Caf.

The exec also had an interesting take on the IT industry's current obsession with energy reduction. (See HP Cuts Power & Cooling.) Seems a whole new market is emerging for companies interested in capitalizing on energy savings by trading carbon emission reductions. "Carbon trading in the next two or three years will be one of the most fascinating asset classes in the world," said Lutnick, who has been at the helm of Cantor Fitzgerald since 1991. "This way, I can say that I trade in acid rain -- it gives me something to talk about at a dinner party."

Another keynoter, Matt Andresen, president of trading firm Citadel Investment Group, also got a laugh from the audience when he related a tale about the cutthroat nature of the financial markets.

Some time ago, Andresen decided to offer co-location space in his Manhattan data center to corporate clients as part of an effort to ensure the same response time for all his customers. But he stepped right into a kerfuffle. "One client complained that he was 35 feet further away from [the server hosting our trade] matching engine than his enemy," he said. "It's an example of how pathological the competition to shave micro-seconds off trading is."

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