Albert J. Menkveld

My two cents

Dutch High-Frequency Traders Soon Faster than Speed of Light?

Albert Einstein famously doubted one of the implications of his quantum theory. He did not believe that information could be transmitted without moving the material to which it was attached. “Spooky action at a distance,” is what he called it.

Dutch scientists at Delft University recently proved it possible. In an article published in Science on May 29 they reveal how they “teleported” information between two quantum bits separated by three meters, i.e., they transferred it truly instantaneously.

High-frequency traders (HFTs) battle one another in an arms race to be the quickest to learn information from one market and use it in another. Most contested perhaps is (informational) arbitrage across index futures in Chicago and equities in New York. Micro-wave dishes were placed in between these cities to transmit information almost at the speed of light.

If Dutch high-frequency traders would team up with the Delft scientists, the micro-wave dishes might soon be obsolete. The latter are reportedly testing teleportation across more than a kilometer this summer.

Sponsorship of such academic research would enable HFTs to claim that their arms-race investment is socially useful. Ronald Hanson who leads the group in Delft, claims that teleportation would enable new levels of privacy. Computing could be done by remotely accessing a machine without anyone else on the machine being able to observe it. Would HFT sponsorship accelerate true protection against the NSA spying on all of us?

This piece will appear in the VU alumni magazine “Vuurwerk.”