Policy ForumSCI POLICY

To slow or not? Challenges in subsecond networks

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Science  24 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6327, pp. 801-802
DOI: 10.1126/science.aai8618

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Fall 2016 brought a fundamental change to the United States. Its fastest and largest network—the decentralized network of electronic market exchanges—began to experience its first ever intentional delay. Specifically, a 38-mile coil of fiber-optic cable was embedded into a new exchange network node, which, given the finite speed of light, introduced a systematic 350-µs (microsecond) delay in signal transmission (1). The future impacts this might have at the systems level are unknown.