Teknekron Software Systems Inc., a leading supplier of trading software, is reconfiguring its client-server trading applications to run on an advanced Digital Equipment Corp. computer.
Digital's 64-bit Alpha computing platform offers better processing and more memory than the 32-bit mainframes and workstations predominating in trading rooms, the companies said.
Marci Kolb, business manager of Maynard, Mass.-based Digital, said the marketing and development agreement with Teknekron comes in response to growing demand in the financial industry for 64-bit processing.
As new technologies, such as advanced modeling, make their way to trading floors, financial companies need more processing power to support them. This has been driving demand for the 64-bit system, she said.
Shamik Mehta, Teknekron's director of international business development, concurred.
"Customers are demanding more functionality and power at the desktop," he said. He added that 64-bit processing provides "tremendous leverage" for supporting the kinds of applications that interest traders, such as video conferencing and three-dimensional graphics.
Ms. Kolb noted that several large financial institutions use video conferencing to allow traders in different parts of the world to plot strategy.
Video links are also being forged between banks and institutional clients for the same purpose. "It's all part of building more competitive customer service," she said.
Other applications helped by a 64-bit architecture allow traders to better analyze increasingly complex trading instruments, said Ms. Kolb. Advanced data modeling and 3-D visualization, for example, go beyond flat numbers by providing traders with graphical methods of analyzing market trends.
Trading rooms also require heavy-duty processing capability for more conventional applications, such as risk management.
The products Teknekron is converting to Digital hardware include its Information Bus and the MarketSheet trading application.
The Teknekron Information Bus allows banks to integrate disparate systems running in their processing environments. This eliminates the "islands of automation" that often exist in banks and protects investments in older technology, said Mr. Mehta.
The MarketSheet application is used to organize and display data such as market prices, equities, and in-house information. With the program, traders can create electronic data sheets to arrange stock quotes, ticker reports, trend charts, news, and other data according to their needs.
Information Bus and MarketSheet will be available in the 64-bit environment this quarter. More options for Digital's platform, such as data feeds and connections between trading rooms, will be available next quarter.
Teknekron plans to make its software available on additional platforms, including Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT, said Mr. Mehta.
The first financial institution to buy the combined Teknekron/Digital system is Tokyo-based Daiwa Institute of Research Ltd., one of the world's leading securities firms.
Daiwa views 64-bit computing as important to its future and to that of its customers, according to Digital officials.
Ms. Kolb said that the Digital/Teknekron relationship is a cornerstone of Digital's new marketing strategy, which is a shift from the days when companies such as Teknekron would be viewed as the enemy.
Digital "will be able to get a broader market for its technology through partners," said Ms. Kolb.