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Last minute auction acquisition

14.04.2008
At an online state securities auction, a transaction worth about 100 million Euro is not a rarity. Computer experts from the Vienna University of Technology (TU) would like to improve considerably the safety and reliability of IT-systems used for such auctions by using time stamps and clocks on smart cards. An idea that won first prize at this year’s FIT-IT Project Contest and which is also assessed as having a market potential of 100 million Euro.

The system used so far for state securities auctions is based on several computers (clients) that send their orders to a central server. Project manager Karl M. Göschka from the Institute of Information Systems of the TU Vienna explains: “A huge number of bids may arrive in the last seconds before the closing of the auction. If the server is overloaded in what is called a “peak load,” and if it crashes, the auction must be repeated, which would lead to considerable losses for the auction operator. Therefore, each participant must be guaranteed the ability to quote his/her bid in the proverbial last seconds – but not a second later.”

Göschka and his team research together with the IRIAN Solutions company ways of guaranteeing a higher availability and sturdiness of the auction system. At the same time, the TU scientists would like to first increase the security through a manipulation-safe time stamp on the client computers. The so-called “smart cards,” which function similarly to an ATM card with an imbedded chip, are attached to the client computer using an integrated clock. The smart card synchronizes the time of the orders with each auction server, and it can guarantee this way that the orders offered on time by the auction participants can also be delivered on the server at a later point in time. As a result, the system is relieved this way because it has more time to play all the orders on the server.

The project entitled “TRADE” (Trustworthy Adaptive Quality Balancing Through Temporal Decoupling) is assessed as having a market potential of 100 million Euro. Finally, the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation, and Technology recognized it as the best FIT-IT project proposal submitted in the year 2007 under the “Trust in IT” category.

Göschka and his collaborators anticipate that there will be another three to four years before the product can reach maturity. At that time, the software system, including smart cards, can be marketed through IRIAN Solutions.

Fotodownload: https://www.tuwien.ac.at/index.php?id=7191

Daniela Hallegger | alfa
Further information:
http://www.tuwien.ac.at/aktuelles/news_detail/article/4722/

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