Soon after the Great Recession, the U.S. stock markets plunged – and rebounded within 36 minutes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 9%, losing more than 1,000 points before suddenly recovering.
This May 6, 2010 event was the first recorded “flash crash.” While it didn’t have long-term effects, it raised concerns among investors about the stability of stock market.
Computers have made trading faster and more efficient, but they also can create instability in the markets. Today, quantitative analysts use complex algorithms to make many trades in many markets within a fraction of a second. These new algorithms now account for more than half of all trades. But this may lead to even more flash crashes.
As engineers, we were interested in that May 2010 crash. No single reason can explain why flash crashes happen. But are there ways to predict and mitigate these anomalies? We took on the challenge of developing a theory that may help predict flash crashes.
Read the full story in The Conversation.