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The Microwave Tower of the NYSE and the Physicality of Finance

High frequency trading is usually known for its ability to ultimately virtualize value but as sociologist Donald MacKenzie shows, these valuations are also a consequence of very real and non-abstract infrastructures. Looking at the cables and antennae that bring the networked data between different trading floors into correspondence, MacKenzie depicts the time-critical infrastructure of automated finance.

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Donald MacKenzie

University of Edinburgh

Dr. Donald MacKenzie is professor of Sociology in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh. His work constitutes a crucial contribution to the field of Science and Technology Studies. MacKenzie’s current research is on the sociology of markets, focusing on automated trading, the use of mathematical models, and the evaluation and trading of bonds. MacKenzie has worked in the past on topics ranging from the sociology of nuclear weapons to the meaning of proof in the context of computer systems critical to safety or security.