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Blaming? (3, Insightful)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181500)

Computers never make errors.
Humans do, at least in designing, manufacturing and sizing computer systems.
This one seems to me like blaming at a knife once you cut your fingers.

Re:Blaming? (4, Insightful)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181582)

In the 1929 crash the problem was partially blamed on the ticker tape running at times up to 1 hour late. Before computers there were people you could blame.

Re:Blaming? (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181820)

I found this bit interesting...

"I've never seen a collapse like that, and I've only been doing this for 47 years," said Alfred E. Goldman
Huh? I remember Black Monday in 87. That was a huge (freakin' huge I tell ya!) % drop. I thought they had fixed these systems to just temporarily shut down in such a scenario. I wonder if that backup switch was part of that system.

Re:Blaming? (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181864)

Oops. I should have continued reading the article...

There are also more draconian measures that weren't invoked Tuesday. Known as "circuit breakers," these safeguards force traders to take a time-out. The Big Board developed these measures following the October 1987 crash and a mini-crash in October 1989.
Seems they didn't trip the switch here and went to plan B instead.

Re:Blaming? (3, Informative)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182756)

I think he was referring to the ginormous cliff that happened at almost precisely 3PM. Take a look. [globalcrossing.net]

Re:Blaming? (1)

PRC Banker (970188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182800)

Shutting down a system would be bad. It would cause suspicion and speculation (on the unquoted markets, which would impact the quoted ones). "Why is the system being shut down?" "Sell [on the unquoted markets], it's a crash of all comprehension!" And the markets crash because of suspicion. Self fulfilled.

Re:Blaming? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181592)

Perhaps a poor analogy ... this is more like cursing a knife when it won't cut through a tree fast enough.

Re:Blaming? (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181596)

Computers never make errors. Humans do, at least in designing, manufacturing and sizing computer systems. This one seems to me like blaming at a knife once you cut your fingers.
Nobody is blaming the computers, the blame is being plopped on the computer "system", which at last I checked, is the hardware and software.

Re:Blaming? (2, Funny)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181754)

Computers never make errors.
Sure they do... just need to bombard them with alpha particles.

Re:Blaming? (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182572)

Bombarding a computer with alpha particles is a user error.

You'd have to have an independently-evolved AI robot bombard the computer with alpha particles.

Re:Blaming? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18182876)

In that case, the fault lies either with the person who built the computer that couldn't withstand alpha particles, or with the person who deployed a non-alpha-particle-resistant computer in a universe with alpha particles.

Tell that ... (1)

vlad_petric (94134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182112)

To super-duper, high energy alpha particle and gamma rays. Why do you think that ECC is so widespread? Not only for RAM - most processors these days have their caches ECC-ed as well.

It's like any other bubble. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18181510)

Someday, it's going to burst.

Sooner than think. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18181986)

Several economists have said that America is bankrupt. In addition, they have pointed out that countries are quietly dropping dollars. Once it is realized by the general public, many will want to shed theirs, probably moving to euros joining Bill Gates, warren buffet, and other billionaires. At that point, Berneke will have no choice but to slowly bump prime up until it is 11-20% to get investors to stay. At that point, our economy will truly slow. Hopefully, at that time, GWB will be forced to get a real backbone and deal with China and get them to untie their money from ours.

Vista (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18181518)

I, for one, welcome our new Vista overlords.

Re:Vista (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18182344)

Mods on crack.

How the hell is this "redundant" and not "offtopic"? You people are STUPID.

NYSE: Microsoft (R) powered (R) (5, Funny)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181522)

It looks like somebody forgot to change the gigantic SQL batteries embedded in the side of the NYSE building...

Re:NYSE: Microsoft (R) powered (R) (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18182004)

as someone who has worked on the floor and systems at NYSE, I can assure you that none of the machines used for trading by specialists or brokers are windows machines, nor are the backends.

all of the machines you see in pictures are dumb terminals connected to a number of master unix systems. they are configured for that special keyboard set used for deals and also touchscreen inputs. however, some (not all) can be booted into windows for personal use or to use firm-specific software.

a side note -- the monitors used by NYSE (you can see them in the pictures on CNN) are ridiculous. huge size, almost perfect 180 degree visibility from side to side and top to bottom, touchscreen, and dust/fingerprint repellent. pretty nasty stuff.

as far as the backends go, the standard system and the backup system are kept running in two locations -- on site, and in a backup location outside of manhattan (not to hard to figure out where, if you try). one can function without the other, on both counts. The QA done to ensure validity is INSANE. Nothing can even be brought out on to the floor without making sure it won't corrupt any of the systems (including the bluetooth system that has become the lifeline of the trading floor -- largest (in size and traffic) private bluetooth network in the world, when I was working the floor)

I have to wonder if this is spam related? (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181532)

It's a very strange and vague situation. I'm not sure we'll ever hear what actually happened. "Computer related" does tend to make one a bit frightened as to what that means exactly. It would be over-estimating the impact of stock-spam quite a bit, I should think even to consider whether or not that had any relation to the problems of yesterday. But if it did, perhaps we can now see some real action against spam... we can only hope.

Re:I have to wonder if this is spam related? (4, Informative)

gunnk (463227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181768)

From what I read (NY Times, I believe) the system didn't really have a big an impact as some headlines would lead you to believe.

Apparently the system that computes and displays the current Dow couldn't keep up with the systems that process the transactions when the number of transactions became very large. The display system caught up a bit later making it *appear* that the market at suddenly dropped something like 250 points in a few seconds.

In reality, the decline was fast but steady. It was just the exchange's version of "Damn lag!"

Re:I have to wonder if this is spam related? (5, Interesting)

DrWho520 (655973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182000)

Change in Chineese trading market regulations were the cause of this drop. A massive sell off occurred with the beginning of a crackdown on questionable and illegal trading on China's stock market. This rippled to every other market in the world. Asian, North America, South American and European markets were all affected. Blaming the computer systems is damage control.

Re:I have to wonder if this is spam related? (2, Informative)

LGV (68807) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181780)

All of the stock spam I get is for companies that don't trade on the NYSE or NASDAQ, it's for much, much, much smaller companies that trade on other exchanges. The companies that make up the Dow Jones average (30 of them) are way too heavily traded to be swayed by pump and dump spam, so they don't bother.

Re:I have to wonder if this is spam related? (5, Informative)

Jonny do good (1002498) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182214)

The drop was really fueled by a number of causes. China's 9% decline the night before was the primary trigger. Sub-prime loans have been leading to trouble for a number of firms lately with the housing decline fueling those problems. The market has been in bull form for quite some time with no corrections leading to a large number of stock prices not supported by their fundamentals. The durable goods sales reports are expected to show under 3% growth when it has been up in the 4% range and this always spooks investors. Any economic indicators showing any sign of change spark massive changes on the market.

The computer problems experienced were really just a lag between the DJIA being calculated and the massive volume of trades being made. Individual stock prices were being reported correctly but the index wasn't keeping up. When the computers caught up they did it over a single minute dropping about 300 points while in reality by the time the index caught up the market had started to rebound a bit. All of the value stock buyers saw the deals becoming available when the landslide hit and started buying a bit. Kind of like today, the market is rebounding because many are looking at stocks that were overpriced yesterday and thinking they are cheap. It's not really as big of deal as the press makes it out to seem. It's not like the '87 crash where 500 points was like 20% of the market. 500 points off th dow is under 4%.

Another trigger for the sudden decline could have been the headline on The Drudge Report (linking to the New York Times article by the same headline) stated that Greespan predicted an imminent recession when his words were as they always have been and that people should be carefull because the economy has been growing for longer than the average growth cycle by about 12 months. Greenspan didn't say anything about a recession being imminent.

Market Loss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18181544)

This glitch occurred toward the end of the day once the stocks were hit hard. The reliable news reports indicate the massive sell off was because of low growth and overseas factors. Oh, right and this is old news for anyone who does indeed keep track of the markets

You mean "Yesterday" (1)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181566)

Today it's up over 60 points so far...

Re:You mean "Yesterday" (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181602)

When he submitted the story, it was still "Today". I've seen it take as many as four days between when a story was submitted, and when it was posted.

Keep an eye on the Firehose, if you're a /. subscriber, and you'll see what I mean.

Re:You mean "Yesterday" (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182268)

You don't have to be a subscriber to see the Firehose.

I ran out of points ages ago, and I can still see it.

Re:You mean "Yesterday" (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182912)

Odd. It used to be a subscriber feature.

This is why... (3, Funny)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181574)

I spend a lot more than I save :-)

The Dow may go down, but a pizza is still as tasty hehehehe.

I wonder how much of this load is due to low volume day trader movement?

Tom

Don't see how they could. (2, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181684)

I wonder how much of this load is due to low volume day trader movement?

I would guess, virtually none, since they're by definition low-volume?

This blaming it on computers seems mostly a red herring. The markets in Asia (particularly Shanghai) tanked, and as a result, the markets in the US tanked, because companies in the US are heavily invested in China.

I think the only lesson here, in case there was anyone left who didn't get it, is that we all float or sink together. For better or worse, the US has tied itself pretty tightly to the Asian markets, and if they collapse, we're going to be seriously hurting.

Re:Don't see how they could. (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181724)

low volume means how much stock you are moving.

Do you really think the traffic is higher if you move more units of stock? What I meant is there are probably millions upon millions of people moving $200 worth of stock here and there. Versus the tens of thousands moving significant quantities.

Tom

Re:Don't see how they could. (3, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181926)

Yes, but what I'm questioning is whether the Dow Jones' computers really had anything to do with this whole market movement at all. At most, all they did was slow down, so that the DJI lagged behind the real world for a while, and then suddenly caught up when their backup system went on-line and took over.

I think that it's more of a symptom and less of a cause. The cause of the market movement was in Asia; that made people sell, people selling caused the DJIs computers to suck. Now, perhaps the DJIs computer slowdown, and consequent large jump when they fixed the problem and got the backup running, caused more people to sell, but this seems specious. The slump was already in progress by the time that the computer slowdown occurred, because the slowdown was driven by high trade volume.

So my point is mostly that I don't see how it matters, really. People are looking towards computer glitches as the cause for the 3% drop in the market (or whatever it was), and that's just not true. The computer glitch might have made the drop look worse, or more precipitous, than it actually was at one point during the day, but it didn't cause or really drive it in any significant way. Even if the DJI folks' computers had worked perfectly, the market would still be sucking. In fact, computerization and the consequent flow of information is what links markets; it's only in the last few decades that the Asian and US markets have felt each other's pain so closely, so in a way, you can blame the computers for working too well in general, when you get these domino-effect deflations.

"Load"? That's exactly what I was thinking (3, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181690)

yesterday's news was annoying as hell. Everyone and their dog chimed in on what caused this horrible crash, what investors should do now, how bad it might get, etc. People: the market's been soaring for months. This is a perfect example of broadcasters' attempt to get you afraid and addicted to "news".

Re:"Load"? That's exactly what I was thinking (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181782)

What you say? They done lie to us to drum up bidnez?

You know this, I know this, some others may know this, but the problem is people let themselves get caught up in it. Very few people really give a damn about gay rights [for example, one way or another] but they'll sure as damned have an opinion about it [usually supplied by the media or some ass on the medium],

People know the news is fake, at some level, they just *need* to believe it. So long as the bad guy is someone I don't understand, and all those "bad things" are happening elsewhere, I feel safe, warm, and fuzzy by comparison.

Tom

Re:This is why... (1)

Erwos (553607) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181870)

You joke, but in high inflation economies, this is not uncommon.

I'd also point out that a one-day blip, even a big one, doesn't really mean very much. "Savers" win and lose in the stock market by long-term trends, not the short-term.

See... (5, Funny)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181598)

This is what happens when I sell one lousy share of google!

Just admit it (-1, Troll)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181612)

They should just admit that the slowdowns were caused by their recent upgrade to Vista.

Chaos theory, anyone? (5, Insightful)

pzs (857406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181618)

1. Computer switch-over is a bit slow

2. Market starts to waiver

3. Other parts of the market see this tremor so market waivers a lot

4. Panic ensues

5. Indices drop 10%

6. a pension company goes bust

7. my grandpa doesn't get to eat.

The last few steps are somewhat hypothetical, but still. The stock market must be one of the most immediately visible examples of chaos theory kicking humans in the nuts.

Peter

Re:Chaos theory, anyone? (2, Funny)

Nykon (304003) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181730)

A butterfly flaps it's wings in Asia , and the dow drop 400 points in the US... brilliant.

Your Nobel Prize is in the mail. Don't call us. We'll cal you.

Re:Chaos theory, anyone? (3, Funny)

pzs (857406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181844)

> A butterfly flaps it's wings in Asia , and the dow drop 400 points in the US... brilliant.

Of course, the usual moron response to this is to say "why don't we just kill all the butterflies in Asia?"

Peter

Re:Chaos theory, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18181988)

Didn't we try that already, in the 60's?

Re:Chaos theory, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18182030)

Cause then they won't have butter in Asia, just as we will run out of honey in America, then what can we put on our pancakes?

Re:Chaos theory, anyone? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18182646)

Bacon!

Re:Chaos theory, anyone? (1)

FirstOne (193462) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182642)

"A butterfly flaps it's wings in Asia , and the dow drop 400 points in the US... brilliant."

More likely a disk drive started to fail, but was able to recover. They can do upward of several hundred retries over 5 to 10 seconds before they return a fatal error.

If the disk drive completes the operation after just a couple of dozen retries, they'll keep on going without reporting an error. If no error is reported back to the controller the raid functionality usually won't kick in (depends on the design). The disk drives data rate and performance during these soft failures drops drastically(100x) resulting in very slow processing times.

Re:Chaos theory, anyone? (3, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181934)

If an index has been trading near a certain level for a while, then a "panic" event causes a huge drop without changing the fundamental underpinnings of the market, traders view this as a HUGE signal to BUY BUY BUY, on margin if possible. In a few weeks, the index is back where it started before the panic event.

At least, that has been my observation. I can't WAIT for leveraged index ETFs... come on, ProFunds!!

Oh, and your Grandpa's pension would not go bankrupt over a panic event. That's absurd.

Of course, anyone who relies on pension companies for retirement has bigger problems...

Re:Chaos theory, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18182074)

anyone who relies on pension companies for retirement has bigger problems...

As opposed to investing in the stock market yourself?

Re:Chaos theory, anyone? (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182144)

As opposed to investing in the stock market yourself?

Saving has become very, very simple recently. There are now "target-date" or "life cycle" funds that divide your investmetns into asset classes appropriate for your intended retirement date. Simply put your savings in the date closest to when you plan to retire, and it automatically diversifies for you and keeps your appropriate asset mix given how much time you have. They're available in most 401(k) plans (though some, *cough cough* assume an older workforce than they really have).

Re:Chaos theory, anyone? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182900)

Oh, and your Grandpa's pension would not go bankrupt over a panic event. That's absurd.

I can't help but think the same thing was said during 1929 and then again in 1989.

Re:Chaos theory, anyone? (1)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182010)

8. . . .

9. Profit!

Re:Chaos theory, anyone? (3, Insightful)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182064)

0. Diversify your holdings, especially your retirement accounts, to protect against market fluctuations. The stock markets will always go up and down for a thousand different reasons-- computer glitch, bad news, hummingbirds, whatever.


1. Computer switch-over is a bit slow
2. Market starts to waiver
3. Other parts of the market see this tremor so market waivers a lot
4. Panic ensues
5. Indices drop 10%


5a. If your investments are diversified, you will survive when the Indexes drop 10%. This is especially true for long-term investments.
6. Buy low.
7. Wait for a while.
8. Sell high.
9. Profit!
10. Enjoy your retirement.

Re:Chaos theory, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18182098)

Waiver isn't a verb. You mean waver [reference.com] .

I'm actually suprised (4, Insightful)

jhfry (829244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181620)

Considering the amount of, and importance of, data that flows through that system... I am surprised that it's not routinely well ahead of the needs at peak capacity.

I'd say that someone, likely the one in charge of the IT budget approval, keeps tight purse strings. Of course, he's not the one getting reamed, it's the CIO and his crew who are taking the blame even though they have repeatedly requested the funds to improve the system. Just speculation, but likely spot on.

Just another piece of ammo when I start a new job and demand a reasonable budget.

Re:I'm actually suprised (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181652)

Imagine how easily this could have been avoided had they funneled just half of the board's compensation into IT expenditures.

Re:I'm actually suprised (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181694)

Yeah, but where are they going to get money to put into their budget? I mean, it's not like they can just funnel money into whatever accounts they want... : p

Re:I'm actually suprised (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181798)

Considering the amount of, and importance of, data that flows through that system... I am surprised that it's not routinely well ahead of the needs at peak capacity.

The NYSE has historically been behind the curve as far as capacity to trade is concerned. I don't have links to back it up, but i recall a TV program that detailed how, before electronic trading was introduced, the exchange had to be closed during the week to allow transaction processing to catch up with the previous week's trading.

Re:I'm actually suprised (1)

L0rdJedi (65690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182850)

You probably saw it on the History channel. That's where I saw it. And it wasn't that they didn't introduce the technology sooner, it was that the technology wasn't available sooner. It wasn't really until the advent of the personal computer that they were actually able to do it. Before then, yes, the NYSE was closed for a few days each week so the people that were processing the trades could catch up with that weeks trades. Yes, it was PEOPLE doing the processing, not COMPUTERS like they have today.

The Highly Reliable Times (1)

maharg (182366) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181624)

Dow Jones & Co., the media company that manages the well-known index of 30 blue chip stocks, said it discovered shortly before 2 p.m. that its computers weren't properly handling the day's huge volume in trades at the New York Stock Exchange.

It switched to a backup computer, and the result was a massive swoon in the index as the secondary system took over processing shortly before 3 p.m.


Highly Reliable Indeed !!!!

Re:The Highly Reliable Times (1)

Jello B. (950817) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181714)

Say, why'd you get me a subscription to The Highly Reliable Times? That's not a reputable journal of opinion.

Just like the computers in 1929! (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181628)

Sure, blame the computers. After all, it's not like the market system has shown any penchant for random and pseudo-random ups and downs ranging from negligible to ultraviolence since long before before any figures were computed by machines rather than pencils.

wonder what the reactions would have been like if a "computer glitch" knocked the thing up 500 points instead of down.

Re:Just like the computers in 1929! (4, Informative)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181752)

wonder what the reactions would have been like if a "computer glitch" knocked the thing up 500 points instead of down.

Um ... *pulls aside*

You mean like what happened two weeks ago? [cnn.com]

Re:Just like the computers in 1929! (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182100)

Neat! Ask and you shall receive! Thanks for the answer.

Re:Just like the computers in 1929! (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182360)

Glad to help :-) Sorry if I seemed rude, I was going for dramatic, but it doesn't always carry through in ascii.

Fueled nothing (4, Informative)

AlphaNuRho (1069628) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181630)

I don't see how you could say that the computer problem fueled the plunge. My understanding of the events is that the only problem was with the system that calculated the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index (the number that is around 12,200). There wasn't a backup or delay in execution of trades or anything like that. The decline was real, but it was spread out over an hour instead of the 2 minutes reflected by the DJIA.

Traders still bought and sold stocks at their real value in real time. The calculation of the sum of their activity was the only thing delayed.

Re:Fueled nothing (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182122)

Actually, if you look at the chart, as soon as the computers caught up and showed how low the market had gone, folks started buying.

They were selling based on the false impression that the market was not down enough yet.

Re:Fueled nothing (1)

complexmath (449417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182322)

From the article:

"Some of the books froze up," he said, referring to the systems in which traders place their orders. "You couldn't really trade. You couldn't really make sales." He said orders appeared to become backed up. "Once they unfroze the Dow fell."

It sounds like at least some of the trade processing systems rely on the DJIA calculator in some way. Perhaps they query it to report the DJIA at the time of the transaction or some such. So trades were being processed but the feedback mechanism was frozen so people weren't sure if their trades were actually going through. It likely took them a while to realize this, so there was a backlog of trades in the system once people stopped to figure out what was going on. Timely feedback is obviously crucial to trading because decisions are made based on current market conditions. It's a good thing more automated "sell" triggers weren't fired when the DJIA caught up or this could have turned into quite a mess.

not quite (5, Informative)

flynt (248848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181638)

The computer systems weren't responsible for the overall drop, but rather the rate of the drop during the few minutes of switching over to the backup computers. This queued up trades, and at the current volume of the switchover, caused a large drop when they caught up. At least that's how I understand it.

It's voodoo (4, Insightful)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182174)

Yep - that sounds just about right.

Imagine a series of database transactions, with each step getting queued up and waiting for the system to finish processing it. The actual DOW number reflects fully completed transactions, but not pending transactions that might impact the outcome. This is probably a good thing, as a transaction might end up being rejected, so you only want to show the outcome of completed transactions. Once the backup system came online, the transactions quickly finished being completed, resulting in the dramatic drop.

The amazing thing to me is that the system is robust enough that transactions can survive the loss of their main computer system and bringing up a secondary one. That's database, networking, and coding voodoo, all wrapped into something pretty awe-inspiring.

Re:It's voodoo (1)

baffled (1034554) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182916)

If the system is a black box, and trade activity is the input, then build two independent black boxes and connect them in parallel with the input. If one system goes kooky, try the other one! I think the space shuttle systems were built the same way.

May I be an early one to welcome.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18181642)

our rapidly impoverished overlords?

Ok... (-1, Offtopic)

nrgy (835451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181650)

who's the funny guy that upgraded the NYSE to Vista?

Re:Ok... (2, Funny)

BanjoBob (686644) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181710)

I thought they were still on Windows Server 2003 running MS SQL Server.

Now, had they been running Linux and MySQL on an IBM monster box things would have probably been different

Re:Ok... (1)

Phillup (317168) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182874)

Now, had they been running Linux and MySQL on an IBM monster box things would have probably been different
What do you think the "backup system" was running... and how they knew the primary system wasn't working properly?

;-)

Seriously tho, I seem to remember reading at one point in time about an exchange that moved their *nix based system over to an MS based system... and kept the old system as a backup.

Don't know if this is similar.

But... we do know that they had another system running, and the two systems didn't jive... and the primary system could not keep up.

Switching over to the backup system cleared the log jam almost immediately.

Makes me question which one should be the primary...

Real Cause? (3, Insightful)

green453 (889049) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181658)

I'm all for looking at things from the tech/computer geek side of things as much as anybody on Slashdot, but isn't the summary taking things a bit far? It was mentioned that there may have been other causes that combined with computer glitches, but wouldn't the fact that markets in China dropped a whopping 9% yesterday seem to be the real cause? I'm sure swithcing computer systems may have scared a few people, but I doubt it was the primary cause of a 400pt drop. That said, it is interesting to think about the effect of computer systems on the financial markets. I've always maintained that it isn't the politicians or the business owners or the economists that run the world, it's the engineers. Think about what would happen if there was a complete shutdown of the systems that run the markets. See if all the Wall Street profiteers pay their geeks a pittance of their "annual bonus" then...

I smell conspiracy (0, Troll)

DJ Jones (997846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181664)

Seriously, A computer glitch? Or a convenient computer malfunction that halted trades just long enough for certain investors to pull out before the plunge...

Re:I smell conspiracy (1)

radish (98371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181876)

Errmmm....if trades were halted, how exactly would said investors pull out?

Dropping prices versus dropping data (5, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181674)

The problem was obvious to anyone watching the markets. A trace of the Dow versus the S&P showed that the Dow's drop was NOT keeping pace with the drop in the S&P (they are normally tightly correlated, especially when big moves occur). It was clear that the NYSE's computers were woefully behind on reporting a much more orderly and steady drop. When that backup server cut in, the Dow data suddenly reflected the true state of affairs that was obvious from people watching the S&P and the broader market.

The Dow did NOT drop 200 points in minutes, the data simply caught up with the drop that had already occurred.

Re:Dropping prices versus dropping data (4, Interesting)

richg74 (650636) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182480)

From what I've read, and learned from talking to a couple of former colleagues (I worked in IT on Wall Street for 20+ years), your note is almost but not quite right. You correctly point out that the Dow's decline was, for a time, seriously out of line with the decline in other market indices, such as the S&P 500. However, you went on to say:

It was clear that the NYSE's computers were woefully behind on reporting a much more orderly and steady drop.
In fact, the problem appears to have been that the systems at Dow-Jones -- which owns the DJIA index and calculates it -- could not keep up with the volume. When the backup system came online, the reported index showed a significant drop in a very short time. In actuality, the decline was real, but it had already happened over a longer period of time. As it says in the original article:

"The market's extraordinary trading volume caused a delay in the Dow Jones data systems," said Dow Jones spokeswoman Sybille Reitz. "We decided to switch over to the backup system, and the result was a rapid catch-up in the published value of the Dow Jones industrial average."
There's no indication that there was a problem with trade reporting by the NYSE, which would be a much more serious problem. But the data feed from the exchange reports prices trade-by-trade as they occur. So, if an external system like Dow-Jones's gets behind, it usually has to plow through the update stream to get current, which can result in a sort of "compressed time" effect.

Not True!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18181688)

The truth is that the NYSE wants to put 'artificially' a break on the Market when it's starts loosing to much. Much like the Dollar USD when it starts loosing a lot against the Euro.

I call this US Government market intervention! This just shows the market is not really free like America IS NOT a free country or the free world as they like to brand themselves.

PS: The Slashdot moderators and moderating system really sucks! The really goods comments are always almost always hidden.

Yep! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18182124)

This site [conspiracypenpal.com] seems to confirm that!

Today's American stock market drop came in a heartbeat because of a computer glitch, they claim, which held up transaction reporting for 30 minutes. Yeah, right. I'll lay long odds that they have a new program in place to give them advance warning of an in-progress collapse, so that they can do something - something like cover their own asses, for example. When you're one of the big boys, you can do a lot of ass covering in 30 minutes, believe me. Surely you aren't one of those naive enough to believe that this game is not massively rigged these days, are you?


This is a bull market and it will be for years and years to come. It will outlast the dollar, believe me. Jumping into something to bridge this economic gap - something like silver (or gold if you are sure there will be no confiscation) - is necessary from here on out. I don't even really trust the Exchange Traded Funds these days, though I continue to be in both SLV and GLD.

Cause Was China (1, Redundant)

Bellum Aeternus (891584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181706)

There may have been a computer error that made things look interesting, the real culprit was China's bad day at the stock market. It created a World stock slump [bbc.co.uk] which drove down stock markets all over the globe. So for those of you who don't RTFA, there wasn't anything nefarious going on.

Editors? We don't need no stinking editors. (5, Informative)

dougman (908) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181766)

The DOW is up today. Can't you at least get the most basic facts right? The drop was yesterday.

nice abuse of mod points there kids (0, Offtopic)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181962)

I really love how people will mark anything with which they don't agree as a Troll.

Take a Look [djindexes.com] , most Dow indices (and every major index) is/are up today. Big surprise, of course, after a huge drop.

Twilight Zone: Tom Clancy (5, Interesting)

maroberts (15852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181792)

As well as crashing planes into buildings, it seems "Debt of Honor" is getting good at being an oracle of modern times.

Re:Twilight Zone: Tom Clancy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18182522)

How about "Executive Orders"? I never did finish that book. Are we getting that first?

Re:Twilight Zone: Tom Clancy (1)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182808)

I'd hope not - one of the terrorist acts described in the book is a major outbreak of Ebola in the United States.

Cramer Still Alive? (-1, Offtopic)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181904)

Has anybody checked on that Cramer guy? His blood pressure was through the roof even before the plunge!

IBM backend w/ Linux Workstations used here? (2, Interesting)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18181946)

If I'm reading this right, an IBM back-end system (mainframe) with lots of IBM-delivered Linux workstations were in the mix here. Anyone know for sure (i.e. work there)?

http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3 447741 [internetnews.com]

NYSE ad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18181992)

I swear awhile back I saw an ad (on slashdot no less) that the NYSE was switching to MS products which means I should too!!

anyone else remember seeing this ad?

just my luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18182048)

Yesterday morning I put in a trailing percentage stop order on one of my stocks. It was the first time I had used such an order but I thought I had a pretty good idea of what percentage would indicate that something was really wrong. The artifical drop in the Dow caused my stock to go lower and triggered my stop. As a result I'm missing out on a dividend for that stock today. Also, I'm missing out on the opportunity to sell the stock at the higher prices it has attained since the artificial drop. I wonder how many people lost and made money off of this.

Where by various financial reasons... (1)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182080)

The Chinese market took a bit of a nosedive (around 9%) after (1) profit-taking from a record-high the day before when their market reached a psychologically nice place, and (2) the rumor that they were going to start charging capital-gains tax, which we go here. China's place in the world market is important enough that that triggered a worldwide economic hiccup that wiped out most of this year's economic gains worldwide.

Other contributors were low durable goods orders and Greenspan's warning on monday of a recession as early as the end of the year.

Not just Dow Jones (1)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182126)

Trying to access my account at Fidelity is also slow and with intermittent failures today and yesterday.

The "snowballing" is not in the prices moving too much up or down, but simply in the increased activity as a lot of people are trying to check their accounts and trade in and out of positions...

What system? (1, Redundant)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182230)

It was never mentioned which system crashed. I guess the NYSE doesn't want to embarass the company. I wonder if it was their Windows 2003 with SQL Server system.

Re:What system? (1)

BSDetector (1056962) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182554)

Maybe is is LAMP based?

Re:What system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18182722)

Impossible.

No LAMP based system has ever crashed in the history of mankind.

OK, 1 LAMP based system did indeed crash, but it was because Bill Gates ordered his goons to destroy Homer Simpson's computer.

Re:What system? (1)

SuseLover (996311) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182652)

Didn't the NYSE use Solaris running Oracle or other heavyweight db in the past. I heard they were switching to WinTel systems in recent years. If true, that shows how robust Solaris/Sun/Oracle is compared to the MS solution.

Re:What system? (1)

BSDetector (1056962) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182664)

I wonder if it is LAMP based! Or maybe OSX! Or maybe BSD! Or maybe...

Hal? HAL!!! (3, Funny)

Malakusen (961638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182462)

Let me put it this way, Mr Amer. The 9000 series is the most reliable computer ever made. No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error.

That's not what the 6'O clock news said. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18182520)

The news said it was a Chinese fault. They caused the financial mayhem.

Switch to backup system... because of load!? (0, Flamebait)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182718)

Oh yeah, THATs a good idea. Switch over to your backup system during peak time because the main server, which is probably identical to your backup, can't handling the load. Oh wait, this is probably Windows where such things actually make sense. They probably just needed to reboot the main server. Because as we all know that is quite often the "solution" in Windows.

-matthew
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