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Mark Palmer

Algorithmic trading owes much to complex event processing (CEP), which allows for the digestion of vast quantities of data and the execution of strategies within milliseconds or microseconds.

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Algorithmic trading owes much to complex event processing (CEP), which allows for the digestion of vast quantities of data and the execution of strategies within milliseconds or microseconds. But it took years for CEP to emerge from the laboratory and find the problems it was destined to solve in capital markets.

Mark Palmer has been associated with two companies that led early commercialization efforts. While with Progress Software in Bedford, Massachusetts, Palmer managed its 2005 acquisition of Apama, a U.K.-based company founded by University of Cambridge Ph.D. John Bates in 1999. In 2008 Palmer became CEO of StreamBase Systems, which former University of California, Berkeley, database luminary Michael Stonebraker (now a StreamBase technical adviser) co-founded in 2003. Thanks to Palmer, Lexington, Massachusetts–based StreamBase has become more finance-oriented, with such customers as CME Group and Royal Bank of Canada, in addition to the Central Intelligence Agency and Orbitz.com.

Finding its way into real-time analytical applications beyond trading, “CEP is hotter than ever,” says Palmer, 44, citing the privately held company’s 100 percent growth last year amid economic uncertainty. Another sign: Database software maker Sybase in February acquired CEP rival Aleri. StreamBase touts itself as the remaining “pure play,” with a technology tailor-made for tightly budgeted operations “that have to do more with less,” says Palmer.

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