[erlang-questions] Lets build a stock exchange!

David Mercer <>
Mon Nov 12 18:28:38 CET 2007

Sure, I may not ever build a stock exchange, but I may be building an
e-commerce engine, or a hospital information system, or something else that
may have very similar reliability, scalability, security, and audit

For that matter, if I plan to build a poker server, I could probably apply
much of what is learned from building a stock exchange.  The opposite is not
necessarily true.  I'd much rather see an application that hits more the
sweet spot of Erlang (massive soft-real-time systems) than a toy application
conjured up to illustrate the same.



-----Original Message-----
[mailto:] On Behalf Of Valentin Micic
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2007 09:23
To: Joe Armstrong; Torben Hoffmann
Cc: Erlang Questions
Subject: Re: [erlang-questions] Lets build a stock exchange!

Would not like to sound negative, but how many people would actually have a 
chance to do something similar (i.e. build a stock exchange system) in their

careers? To me, this sounds like teaching someone to build affordable 
housing by explaining how to build a pyramid. If the main goal of writing a 
book is to popularize a specific subject, the stock exchange system, IMHO, 
would not cut. If you want a popular support, write a book about popular 
subject. For example, I think that erlang's implementation of jabber 
protocol (XMPP, etc), did a great deal to erlang's popularity...But then 
again, how many books do we need?


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Joe Armstrong" <>
To: "Torben Hoffmann" <>
Cc: "Erlang Questions" <>
Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2007 11:45 PM
Subject: Re: [erlang-questions] Lets build a stock exchange!

> This sounds like a great idea.
> I have no idea whether it would succeed or fail - if it succeeds then 
> (gulp)
> If it fails the interesting thing is not that it failed but WHY it failed.
> If things fail and we know why we can do research and fix things. It
> is the existence of things
> that don't work that stimulates software research and development.
> Interesting problems are very difficult to think up - asking the right
> question is
> often the really difficult bit - once asked lots of brains can try and
> find the solution.
> Joels suggesting poses a difficult question - great - let's try and answer

> it.
> If Joel can in any way structure the problem then there are loads of
> us that can try and
> write the individual bits.
> Breaking the system is great - a program that breaks the compiler is
> far better than 100 that work.
> A program that breaks mnesia is far better than 1000 that work.
> If this breaks Erlang great - we can fix it and make an even better 
> system.
> Breaking stuff is easy - the interesting point is *where* does the system 
> break!
> /Joe Armstrong
> On Nov 11, 2007 10:10 PM, Torben Hoffmann <> 
> wrote:
>> On Nov 11, 2007 9:43 PM, Christian S <> wrote:
>> > Anyone know a book on technical requirements that brokers put on stock
>> > exchanges? Order matching procedures, what information do tax offices
>> > want, typical features as in stop-loss rules...
>> >
>> > Oh, and yes. A stock exchange is cooler than poker.
>> It may very well be the case that a stock exchange is cooler than poker, 
>> but
>> I think that the poker server has some interesting aspects that could
>> inspire others. E.g., the dynamic allocation of a server to run a new 
>> table
>> as well as the handling of the messages between the players is similar in
>> nature to some of the challenges there is in telecom with regards to 
>> group
>> calls and where to "host" the call.
>> Furthermore, I would rather see a well-written book on hard-core Erlang 
>> hit
>> its window of opportunity than see the whole thing turn into "let's make 
>> the
>> coolest application that will never run in real life just in order to 
>> spice
>> up a programming book"-kind of projects.
>> A well written book with a clear example of usage including discussions
>> about where the general ideas can be applied is what I would bet my money
>> on. If a potential buyer of the hard-core Erlang book cannot abstract 
>> from
>> the specific case study used to teach the principles then it is time to
>> utter "Joe, We have a problem!" ;-)
>> Cheers,
>> Torben
>> P.S. My first reaction to the stock exchange idea was "Wow!! Cool!!!", 
>> but
>> then my analytical side issued a kill to that process for the reason 
>> listed
>> above.
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
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