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Bug The Almighty Buck

Swedish Stock Exchange Hit By Programming Snafu 136

New submitter whizzter writes "I was reading the Swedish national news today and an image in a stock exchange related article struck my eye. An order had been placed for 4 294 967 290 futures (0xfffffffa or -6 if treated as a 32-bit signed integer), each valued at approximately 16,000 USD, giving a neat total of almost 69 trillion USD. The order apparently started to affect valuations and was later annulled, however it is said to have caused residual effects in the system and trading was halted for several hours."
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Swedish Stock Exchange Hit By Programming Snafu

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  • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @03:44PM (#42121985) Homepage

    Since I doubt you can buy -6 shares, and likely nobody had access to $69 trillion USD (including the US government)... this sounds like it was done by someone who knew it would cause problems with the system.

    I don't know about most of you, but I couldn't initiate a trade for that kind of money. How could someone even do this without having some good knowledge of how the system works?

    You'd really have to assume there should be some pretty obvious checks and balances in there that either weren't, or didn't trigger.

  • by vikingpower (768921) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @04:36PM (#42122745) Homepage Journal
    It did, after all, influence trading. What if this stunt was disguised as an - admittedly stupid - mistake, but in fact wasn't one ?
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @04:40PM (#42122839)

    For an ethics class. The only real solution is to ban it outright. These algorithms can never be fully tested because they interact with algorithms from other institutions which can lead to death spirals as algorithms cause feedback loops; bouncing trades off of one another until someone pulls the plug. And at automated speeds, that can be long after your company goes bankrupt.

    From the sounds of the translated page, this was just a one-shot jacked up algorithm working in isolation which is still a problem in itself.

6 Curses = 1 Hexahex