Practicing at the Cutting Edge

They say that wisdom comes with age. Like many concepts in software, we have an imperfect proxy here. Age being the imperfect proxy for experience, discovery, and learning. When pushing a technology to the limits of performance one has a lot to learn and then unlearn over time as the language, runtime, operating systems, and hardware evolves.

Martin will reflect on his experience with Java since its inception. Starting with building financial GUIs to run on OS2 and NT, then the era of Servlets and J2EE, streaming data and media concurrently to thousands of devices, processing and indexing the largest catalogues, encryption on mobile phones, LMAX and the Disruptor, and the current generation of low-latency trading applications that must cope with millions of events per second with latency measured in the microseconds.

The talk will focus on the major steps in the evolution of Java and how it contrasts to C/C++ over time. We will also cover the challenges of pushing the limits of performance and how we need to collaborate with industry experts and organise our teams, which often stands at odds with the development culture in many industries and organisations.

Martin Thompson 

Martin is a high-performance and low-latency specialist, with experience gained over two decades working on the bleeding edge of large transactional and big-data systems. He believes in Mechanical Sympathy, i.e. applying an understanding of the hardware to the creation of software as being fundamental to delivering elegant high-performance solutions. The Disruptor framework is just one example of what his mechanical sympathy has created.

Martin was the co-founder and CTO of LMAX. He blogs at, and can be found giving training courses on performance and concurrency when he is not cutting code to make systems better.