People at Optiver

FPGA Spotlight

Today in #PeopleAtOptiver meet Andy, FPGA Engineer at Optiver Amsterdam. Learn more about his story and why he chose to pursue a career in hardware design at Optiver.
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  • Meet Andy - FPGA Engineer

    Where did you go to school and what was your major?
    I went to the University of Sheffield in the UK where I studied Electronic Engineering. I always liked math and science, but really wanted to apply this practically in an engineering field. One dream I had was working for a Formula 1 team, I think that’s why pushing the limits of technology in search of the best performance appeals to me so much.

    How long have you been at Optiver?
    Almost 5 years now. I moved from London to Amsterdam in the spring of 2014, some of my former colleagues had already joined and they recommended Optiver. It was only my second visit to Amsterdam, but a couple of months later I was living here!

    How does hardware fit into FinTech?
    FPGAs are a tool to accelerate the processing of an application, either by increasing the throughput or reducing the latency. We work directly with Traders and Software Developers to identify ways in which this increased performance can directly impact the success of our trading systems.

    What was your most influential project that you’ve worked on?
    At Optiver you get the opportunity to pitch projects that you think will make a difference to the business. I proposed an idea for writing our own TCP stack in the FPGA that would be optimised for our applications and give us a competitive edge. It was really rewarding to come up with the architecture, implement it and then see it improve our trading!

    What is the FPGA team’s philosophy around solving problems?
    We try and look at the problem from a system level first and then see where the FPGA would fit best. By always thinking about the whole system your FPGA design can stay simple and focused.

    Looking back, what advice would you give yourself on that first day at Optiver?
    Question the necessity of every line of code you write. Often things can be made more specific and simpler than you first think, so only add in complexity when you really have to.


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About Optiver

Optiver is an leading global electronic market maker. Our high performance, low-latency trading systems and algorithms are constantly evolving. We care about clean, lean and pragmatic code and are passionate about breaking down complex problems into simple solutions. 

Our engineers take ownership for the full stack of applications and the development life cycle. Working in collaboration with our traders and researchers, the software of our engineers can be deployed into production the same day providing immediate results and have a direct impact.

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