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Michael Lewis, Vanity Fair, and High Frequency Trading


Julia La Roche, BI, Goldman Sachs Is Throwing Cold Water On Michael Lewis’ New Vanity Fair Expose Before It Even Comes Out, here. That could be half a million lines of Erlang high performance code. That’s right it’s High Performance – and at the same time – it’s Erlang code; it’s a floor wax and a dessert topping. Let’s see how Michael Lewis deals with that on 1 Aug. in Vanity Fair. There is serious middle aged men-in-suits-fighting over allegedly-stolen ugly Lawn Ornaments potential here if you look at It the right way.

“Goldman Sachs has spent millions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours developing the proprietary source code and technology used in our market making business. The firm has put in place extensive safeguards to protect this valuable technology. In addition to the contractual limits on disseminating confidential information, the firm restricts access to proprietary technology to those employees whose duties designing and maintaining the technology require such access. The firm has also implemented a broad array of technical safeguards to identify or block attempts ot move such code outside its firewall.

“In this case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit determined that Sergei Alyenikov, minutes before his going-away party, ‘encrypted and uploaded to a server in Germany more than 500,000 lines of source code for Goldman’s HFT system.’ While some of those files included open source software, the Court determined that ‘a substantially greater number of the uploaded files contained proprietary code.’ The Court went on to note that the code ‘could be integrated into a competitor’s system’ and that Mr. Alyenikov then ‘deleted the encryption program as well as the history of his computer commands.’ After leaving Goldman, he downloaded the code to his home computer and brought it to his new employer, who had offered him a job paying more than 2.5 times his salary at Goldman. Those facts are not in dispute.”


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