TE8: Digital Currencies, Part 2 of 3 Blockchains

On September 14, Bob Van Valzah dropped in for a long session on Digital Currencies which turned into a three-part series on Blockchains. One or more series will follow covering all the issues surrounding digital currencies. To the left is a shot of Bob’s power bill for his Bitcoin Mining Rig that we discussed tonight, and also a video of that Mining Rig in production.

In part two of this podcast we address the following questions:

  • So what are miners actually doing?
  • The enormous numbers, for example 10^18 power behind solving these mining problems.
  • Are we looking for primes in a huge field of numbers (hint, no)? Solutions have 130 zeros at the end or 2^130
  • Mining rigs as space heaters, the power issue.
  • Who decides which miner is a winner in extending the block chain?
  • What happens when two miners each find a valid solution during the time of the flood?
  • Is it still one bitcoin block every 10 minutes?
  • What happens if it takes longer than 10 minutes to arrive at a solution?
  • What keeps the bad guys from circumventing the whole mining system?
  • How often would you win a bitcoin, and what is a mining pool?

In part three we’ll finish describing what is a Blockchain. While this has already been recorded and it should be released a few days following part 2.

TE7: Digital Currencies, Part 1 of 3 Blockchains

Last night, September 14, Bob Van Valzah dropped in for a long session on Digital Currencies which turned into a three-part series on Blockchains. One or more series will follow covering all the issues surrounding digital currencies. To the left is a shot of Bob’s Bitcoin Mining Rig that we discussed tonight, and also a video of that Mining Rig in production.

In this podcast we address the following questions:

  • How did you get into bitcoin mining?
  • What is a Blockchain?
  • How is a Blockchain structured?
  • Where are Blockchains stored?
  • What is the role of a node?
  • Are all nodes miners?
  • Is a miner a person or a computer?
  • What is a mining rig?

In part two we’ll cover mining itself. This has already been recorded and it should be released a few days after part 1.

TE 6: Network Performance Monitoring

On August 8th, 2017 Luca Deri the founder of ntop was kind enough to call in and discuss Network Performance Monitoring (NPM). Luca is a well-recognized leader in the field of NPM having started at IBM Research back in 1993. He then went on to launch ntop in 1997 and has never looked back. In this specific market PF_Ring, n2Disk and several other tools by Luca and his team have become the de facto standard by which all others are compared. Today we discussed NPM then and now, touching on the abuse of port 80 for a wide range of wrapped traffic. We then moved on to packet capture, and the need for smart NICs moving forward if we wish to keep pace with faster networks like 50 and 100GbE.

TE 5: Electronic Trading with FPGAs

On June 30th, 2017 Bob DiPietro of Solarflare was kind enough to call in and discuss the differences between Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) chips and general purpose x86 class CPUs. We chatted about their application in electronic trading, and how FPGAs offer the ultimate in network latency reduction, in some cases delivering over six times the performance of the fastest Intel Xeon processors. We also touched on toolchains, as well as Delegated TCP Send and A.N.T.S. for latency reduction.

TE 2: NVMe Storage

On June 9th, 2017 Mark Zeller from XIO Technologies was our guest, and we discussed NVMe Storage. Mark is the Senior Vice President of US Sales for X-IO Technology, with over three decades in storage sales he has really seen and done it all. We talked about Flash storage, performance, wear-out, price versus performance, NVMe_oF and closed with the secret ingredient that makes XIO Technologies secret sauce so special.

TE 3: Electronic Trading

On June 10th, 2017 Bob Van Valzah of Sun Trading shared a piece of his Saturday with us to discuss Electronic Trading using a number of real-world examples. We kept the conversation intentionally light, and Bob explained how trading works in terms that nearly everyone should be able to comprehend. During our chat, we touched on high-frequency traders, market making, dark pools, what is arbitrage, and the race to zero. So sit back and learn a bit about how our markets work.