Thursday Jun 15, 2006

Can we "commoditise" computing?

Again reflecting on some of the ideas generated from last week's Enron film; Enron's domination of the creation, distribution and exchange of gas and electricity created a vertically integrated monopoly. These require regulating or breaking up (or taking into public ownership). Also it seems to me that when trading becomes the 'raison d'etre' of a market, it offers very little value to the primary players. It made me wonder how the roles of primary provider, primary consumer, secondary traders and an exchange can be organised to enable a market, rather than distort it and if this can be applied to both bandwidth, which Enron experimented with, and CPU cycles. I've no real answer's today! More reading and listening....

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Derivative Trading or Gambling

I also discovered that Enron experimented with trading in weather and I'm not sure what they did, but its reminiscent of some ideas expressed in James Surowiecki's "Wisdom of Crowds" where he explored the remarkable prescience of the University of Iowa's Electronic Markets for the prediction of political events, most obviously elections but also other political futures. (I read somewhere, during the last {UK} general election, that the most effective forecast for the result was the bookmaker's odds, this must be very disappointing to the polling organisations, but it seems a financial interest sharpens the mind.) Its also a fact that if you want to trade in weather, at least in the UK you have to go to Ladbrokes to bet on snow at Xmas.

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