# Hardware Accelerators for Financial Mathematics - Methodology, Results, and Benchmarking

**ABSTRACT** Modern financial mathematics consume more and more computational power and energy. Finding efficient algorithms and implementations to accelerate calculations is therefore a very active area of research. We show why interdisciplinary cooperation such as (CM)\textsuperscript{2} are key in order to build optimal designs.

For option pricing based on the state-of-the-art Heston model, no implementation on dedicated hardware is known, yet. We are currently designing a highly parallel architecture for field programmable gate arrays based on the multi-level Monte Carlo method. It is optimized for high throughput and low energy consumption, compared to GPGPUs. In order to be able to evaluate different algorithms and their implementations, we present a benchmark set for this application. We will show a very promising outlook on future work, including dedicated ASIPs, fixed-point research and real-time applications.

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**ABSTRACT:**Using an Euler discretization to simulate a mean-reverting CEV process gives rise to the problem that while the process itself is guaranteed to be nonnegative, the discretization is not. Although an exact and efficient simulation algorithm exists for this process, at present this is not the case for the CEV-SV stochastic volatility model, with the Heston model as a special case, where the variance is modelled as a mean-reverting CEV process. Consequently, when using an Euler discretization, one must carefully think about how to fix negative variances. Our contribution is threefold. Firstly, we unify all Euler fixes into a single general framework. Secondly, we introduce the new full truncation scheme, tailored to minimize the positive bias found when pricing European options. Thirdly and finally, we numerically compare all Euler fixes to recent quasi-second order schemes of Kahl and Jackel, and Ninomiya and Victoir, as well as to the exact scheme of Broadie and Kaya. The choice of fix is found to be extremely important. The full truncation scheme outperforms all considered biased schemes in terms of bias and root-mean-squared error.Quantitative Finance 01/2010; 10(2):177-194. · 0.82 Impact Factor - SourceAvailable from: javaquant.net[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]

**ABSTRACT:**Stochastic volatility models are increasingly important in practical derivatives pricing applications, yet relatively little work has been undertaken in the development of practical Monte Carlo simulation methods for this class of models. This paper considers several new algorithms for time-discretization and Monte Carlo simulation of Heston-type stochastic volatility models. The algorithms are based on a careful analysis of the properties of affine stochastic volatility diffusions, and are straightforward and quick to implement and execute. Tests on realistic model parameterizations reveal that the computational efficiency and robustness of the simulation schemes proposed in the paper compare very favorably to existing methods.01/2007; - [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]

**ABSTRACT:**The benchmark of pricing a European option via Monte Carlo simulation is commonly used in financial engineering for evaluating the performance of new computational techniques and to tune the parameters of the Monte Carlo simulation for improved convergence. This paper presents a comparison of different FPGA implementations of the European option benchmark against other implementations using GPUs, Cell BE, and a traditional software implementation. Error against a closed form solution is contrasted with relative acceleration for the different implementations. The FPGA approach gives significant performance advantages compared to the alternatives examined. An acceleration of x compared to a reference software implementation can be obtained using FPGAs, compared to only x in the case of the best non-FPGA alternative. Better error performance than a double precision floating point software implementation may also be obtained. In addition, the reconfigurability of an FPGA solution allows tradeoffs between acceleration and error not possible with alternative approaches. The FPGA implementations were produced using 'HyperStreams', a high level abstraction for designing arithmetic pipelines built on the Handel-C programming language.Field Programmable Logic and Applications, 2007. FPL 2007. International Conference on; 09/2007

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Hardware Accelerators for Financial Mathematics -

Methodology, Results and Benchmarking

Christian de Schryver#, Henning Marxen∗, Daniel Schmidt#

#Micrelectronic Systems Design Department, University of Kaiserslautern

Erwin-Schroedinger-Strasse, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany

schryver@eit.uni-kl.de

schmidt@eit.uni-kl.de

∗Stochastics and Financial Mathematics Department, University of Kaiserslautern

Erwin-Schroedinger-Strasse, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany

marxen@mathematik.uni-kl.de

Abstract—Modern financial mathematics consume more and

more computational power and energy. Finding efficient algo-

rithms and implementations to accelerate calculations is therefore

a very active area of research. We show why interdisciplinary

cooperation such as (CM)2are key in order to build optimal

designs.

For option pricing based on the state-of-the-art Heston model,

no implementation on dedicated hardware is known, yet. We

are currently designing a highly parallel architecture for field

programmable gate arrays based on the multi-level Monte Carlo

method. It is optimized for high throughput and low energy

consumption, compared to GPGPUs. In order to be able to

evaluate different algorithms and their implementations, we

present a benchmark set for this application. We will show a very

promising outlook on future work, including dedicated ASIPs,

fixed-point research and real-time applications.

Index Terms—finance, benchmarking, hardware acceleration

I. INTRODUCTION

Nowadays, financial markets are as vivid as never before. In

modern electronic markets, stock prices may change several

times within a few milliseconds. Participating traders (that can

also be computers) have to evaluate the prices and react very

quickly in order to get the highest profit, which requires a lot

of computational effort.

In general, running these computations on servers or clusters

with standard CPUs is not feasible due to either long run times

or high energy consumption. Using general purpose graphics

processing units (GPGPUs) as accelerators helps to increase

the speed, but still requires a lot of energy. Besides, at the

moment energy efficiency becomes more and more crucial for

the reason of high energy costs and - even more critical - a

limited supply of energy that can be provided. For example,

in [16] it is stated that the City of London (with its new

financial center Canary Wharf where a lot of leading institutes

are located) does not provide additional energy until after

the Olympic winter games in 2012, that have higher priority.

Financial institutes are currently outsourcing all computing

systems not used for pricing computations (such as storage

or backup) out of the critical area.

This leads to the dilemma of needing faster computations on

the one hand and limited energy resources on the other hand.

PC GPGPUFPGA

Fig. 1. PC vs. GPGPU vs. FPGA

Moving away from GPGPUs to dedicated hardware acceler-

ators can help to drastically reduce the power consumption

at the same or even higher throughput. For different applica-

tion domains, some comparisons between CPU, GPGPU and

programmable hardware units (field programmable gate arrays,

FPGAs) have already been shown in [13] and [5], highlighting

the enormous potential of energy savings for FPGAs. Figure 1

shows that standard software implementations require the

least effort for implementation and can provide the highest

flexibility, while dedicated hardware solutions on FPGAs are

hard to design and - once finished - not easy to be changed

again. From a different view, FPGAs can save up to about

99% of energy compared to a software implementation on a

standard PC and allow a much higher throughput. GPGPUs

are located between standard PCs and FPGAs. Between each

neighboring architectures, one can expect a difference of about

one order of magnitude on average for power consumption and

throughput [13]. Although most financial institutes are relying

on GPGPUs at the moment for the reason of standardized

software development toolkits and their flexibility, FPGAs

are an interesting alternative because of their higher energy

efficiency.

A big challenge is the complexity of many models used

to estimate the future price behavior of financial products. In

many cases no mathematical closed-form solution exists so

that approximation methods like Monte Carlo simulations or

the finite difference method must be employed. Though, it is

necessary to precisely specify a solution right at the beginning

of the design process. Re-designing a nearly finished hardware

implementation can require a very high amount of effort. The

Center of Mathematical and Computational Modeling (CM)2

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of the University of Kaiserslautern is a perfect forum for an

interdisciplinary cooperation to tackle this issue.

For this project, we have developed a design methodology

that helps to select a feasible parameter set for a hardware ac-

celerator in question that we present in Section III. In order to

make implementations transparently comparable, we propose

to use standardized benchmark sets - we elaborate on this in

Section IV. By applying this methodology and our benchmark,

we have developed some reference implementation designs

that we show in Section V, together with the status quo of our

research and our contributions up to now. In Section VI we

give an overview of open issues and what we plan to examine

in the future. Section VII concludes the paper.

II. STATE-OF-THE-ART AND RELATED WORK

Mathematical finance basically has two different directions.

One is concerned with the evaluation of optimal investment

strategies under certain market conditions and the other di-

rection is the pricing of derivatives. The basic idea of pricing

options is to assume some sort of model for the underlying

price process and take the discounted expected value - under

a certain measure - of an option as the option price.

A very common problem treated is the calculation of

option prices based on the Black-Scholes model from 1973.

This model relies on one stochastic differential equation and

describes the price development of an option over the time,

depending on market parameters such as riskless interest rate,

long term drift and a constant volatility.

Accelerator design for financial mathematics is a very active

research area, and several FPGA implementations have been

published in the past. At the FPL 2008 Woods and VanCourt

[17] presented a hardware accelerator for multiple, quasi-

random, standard Brownian motions suitable for the accelera-

tion of quasi-Monte Carlo simulation of financial derivatives.

For credit risk modelling, Thomas and Luk could gain a

speed-up of more than 90 times compared to a 2.4 GHz

Pentium-4 Core2 [14]. An accelerator for Monte Carlo based

credit derivative pricing was developed by Kaganov, Chow

and Lakhany [10] in 2008 and showed to be 63 times faster

than their software model. Wynnyk and Magdon-Ismail [18]

presented an FPGA accelerator for American option pricing

based on the Black-Scholes model in 2009 and could achieve

a speedup of eleven up to 73 times compared to a software

implementation running on a standard PC.

However, nowadays the Black-Scholes model is no longer

up to date and does not provide an accurate reflection of

modern financial market behaviors, mostly because of the

volatility not being constant in reality. Furthermore, closed-

form solutions for the Black-Scholes model exist and it only

has demonstration purposes to apply stochastic solution meth-

ods such as Monte Carlo simulations or the finite difference

method [1]. Nevertheless, it is still very common to publish

accelerator implementations based on that model, at least in

the electrical engineering community.

In 1993, Steven L. Heston presented a more accurate model

[9] that extends the model from Black and Scholes by a

second stochastic differential equation for stochastic volatility

variations. This significantly increases the complexity of the

calculation and of the implementation thereof. Nevertheless,

the Heston model reflects the real behavior of current stock

markets much better and is nowadays widely accepted in the

financial mathematics community. But - to the best of our

knowledge - no hardware accelerator for that model has been

published up to now. For GPGPUs, the first implementations

have been presented in the last year. Bernemann, Schreyer

and Spanderen from the german bank WestLB [3] showed

that they could achieve a speeup of 50 times over CPU by

using GPGPUs for simulating the Heston model. Zhang and

Oosterlee published a technical report [19] in March 2010

where they even showed speedups of more than 100 times.

The presented speed-ups look very impressive. However,

unfortunately we were not able to fairly decide which solution

seems to be the most promising for further research and

refinements. We will go a bit more into the details of that

problem in Section IV.

III. HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT DESIGN

For many fields of applications, finding the most efficient

design under certain constraints is a difficult job. The main

reason for this is a large design space. The design space is

made up of all possible parameter choices for the design, that

means all possible implementation instances.

Most parameters are not adjustable independently, since

they are mutually linked. For example, fixing the target ar-

chitecture to FPGAs one the one hand has a large impact on

the selection of suitable algorithms and number systems, and

on the other hand affects many performance metrics such as

energy consumption, throughput and numerical precision.

Furthermore, the parameters within the design space are in

many cases not limited to a single domain of expertise, but

require interdisciplinary know-how and decisions. This makes

not only the choice of the right values a challenge, but also

the evaluation and comparison of different implementations.

Besides speedup, more characteristics such as energy effi-

ciency, convergence rate or numerical precision may be very

important. This especially holds true for financial mathematics

accelerators.

During our research we have seen a lot of papers that

show elaborate implementations of a specific algorithm (see

Section II) that is not questioned in the papers anymore.

However, we claim that the algorithm itself is in fact not the

most important selection. An accelerator should be designed to

solve a specific problem - it does not matter which algorithm is

used, as long as the result is calculated correctly. We therefore

propose to distinguish clearly between three terms:

• the problem that is tackled (what to solve)

• the employed model (how to solve)

• the solution (how to build)

To clarify the situation, we use the problem “calculate the

price of an option with two barriers for a given duration” as

an example. European knock-out barrier options pay a certain

amount of money at a fixed maturity time depending on the

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Fig. 2.Barrier testing for a Brownian motion

value of the underlying asset. This amount is only paid when

the barrier is not crossed up to the maturity time. If one of the

barriers is hit, the option becomes worthless. Thus it needs to

be checked whether the barrier was ever hit or not. Figure 2

illustrates the typical random behavior of different realizations

of an asset price over the time.

It is obvious that the problem description itself does not

yet give any suggestions to the solution. Since the price of an

option is tightly coupled to the price of a certain stock at the

market, we need a model that provides the stock price behavior.

For our chosen example, suitable models are for example

the Black-Scholes model (outdated nowadays) or the Heston

model. The model in general gives a formal and abstract view

of (a certain aspect of) the problem.

The solution finally is a dedicated approach for solving a

(modeled) problem. It is characterized by a specific algorithm

and its implementation. For evaluating the Heston model,

for example, finite difference methods or stochastic Monte

Carlo simulations can be used. They may be implemented for

example on standard PC clusters, GPGPUs or on FPGAs.

The parameters of the design space can basically be divided

into two groups: the algorithmic parameters that are mostly se-

lected by mathematicians, and the implementation parameters

determined by the hardware designers. However, as mentioned

before correlations exist between several parameters, so that

the selection should be optimally made by having a generative

exchange between experts of both groups.

For the rest of the paper, we will use the problem-model-

solution triple “calculate the price of an option with two

barriers for a given duration with the Heston model by using

Monte Carlo methods” as a showcase. Even for that specific

selection, the design space is still very large. An extract of

the related design space is shown in Figure 31. We cannot

explain every parameter here (for details see [11] [8]), but

in a nutshell it is obvious that even for a very specific task

a huge amount of possible accelerator implementations may

exist. In Figure 3 we see two different views of the same

tree. These trees are symbolic for the design space. The left

one is the view of a mathematician that has mostly to do

with algorithmic and numerical aspects. The right view is the

1http://www.sxc.hu/photo/285734 We thank sxc user vxdigital for sharing this image of the oak tree and allowing the

use of it in this paper. He holds all copyrights to this image.

one of an electrical engineer who may not understand the

mathematician’s concerns in detail, but is wondering what the

best decisions with respect to hardware efficiency might be.

IV. BENCHMARKING - FAIRLY COMPARING

IMPLEMENTATIONS

Comparing different implementations is a non-trivial task.

Many attributes can be considered, including speed, accuracy

and energy consumption. This becomes even more difficult

when it is not clear which algorithm was used. Furthermore,

in many cases it is not possible to distinct whether a presented

algorithm or implementation has the displayed behavior only

with the employed example or in a more general setting.

Nevertheless, it is important to be able to compare various

algorithms and different implementations, also over various

target architectures.

Therefore the need for a benchmark set arises. This set

should be independent of the algorithm and implementation

used. For option pricing in financial mathematics, this need

has already been claimed by Morris and Aubury in 2007 [12].

We are not aware of any progress made since that paper was

published. We therefore have decided to develop a completely

new benchmark that will enable us to fairly compare different

algorithms, e.g. multi-level and single-level Monte Carlo, on

different hardware. Thus we propose a benchmark based on

the problem/model combination. In our case it is the pricing

of double barrier options in the Heston model. It is clear that

independently of the used algorithm and implementation the

result must be the same. Therefore the final prices of the

different options in the benchmark set have to be provided.

With the benchmark set it is possible to use different

metrics, like speed (that is now the real time until the results

are available), accuracy and power consumption, for the cal-

culations leading to the right (or approximate) result without

actually looking at the implementation and the algorithm itself.

This allows a fair and publicly traceable comparison of the

solution part of the problem/model/solution triplet.

The benchmark itself consists of different combinations

of parameters for the Heston model and for barrier options,

including the prices. The data for the Heston parameters is

taken from different recent publications ( [2], [11], [20]) and

are enlarged by an extremer case. The benchmark parameters

span a wide range of possible combinations used in this field.

For some options of the benchmark closed form solutions

exist that allow to obtain the exact results. This is important

to verify that simulations converge to the correct values and

makes it easier to compare the results. For the other cases the

exact prices are not known and are therefore provided as close

approximations.

For further publications we not only encourage the authors

to use the presented benchmark but also give details of the

algorithm and the implementation used. Thus it is possible

to see where an increase in performance comes from. This

is essential in order to evaluate the contribution of a certain

result and to find ways to improve it even further. To achieve

a higher transparency we will publish the code we used to

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MC Simulation

Heston Model

Quasi

(a) Algorithmic parameters

Calculation

Path-Serial

Path-Parallel

(b) Implementation parameters

Fig. 3.Two views of the same solution tree

analyze the algorithms and the one we implemented on the

FPGA.

The benchmark was directly used when comparing different

Monte Carlo algorithms with the metric of computational

complexity. In our special problem/model combination there

are a lot more adjustments to the algorithms than seen in

figure 3(a). Many of them can be combined, what leads to

a huge design space that now can be handled by applying

the benchmark set, so that we haven been able to choose a

specific algorithm to be efficiently implemented on dedicated

hardware. The multi-level Monte Carlo method provides a bet-

ter asymptotic convergence behavior, using our benchmark we

checked whether this method is beneficial for our application.

We will show our first results in the next section.

V. STATUS QUO AND FIRST RESULTS

We have started this cooperation within (CM)2about one

year ago now. Both participating chairs have experience of

more than ten years in their respective field of research, so

that we can profit from a lot of knowledge in the areas of

efficient hardware design respectively stochastics and financial

mathematics.

After evaluating the state-of-the-art, we decided to focus on

accelerators for option pricing based on the Heston model - it

seems to be a very promising topic since no implementations

(either on GPGPUs or FPGAs) have been available one year

ago. In contrast to that, the Heston model is already widely

spread within the financial community. From former research

done in the group of Prof. Korn, multi-level Monte Carlo

methods [7] seemed to provide a better convergence behavior

than standard single-level Monte Carlo or finite difference

methods. Monte Carlo methods also have the advantage of

being very flexible. A barrier that is only relevant on a certain

time interval to evaluate an option price for example can be

easily implemented. Furthermore, multi-dimensional problems

can also be solved. This is needed in the case that an option has

more than one underlying asset. Nevertheless, for our project

we will stick to one asset.

A. A New Random Number Generator for Non-Uniform Dis-

tributions

Inherently, Monte Carlo simulations always consume a huge

amount of random numbers. To obtain the maximum hardware

efficiency for our implementation, we have developed a new

random number generator for non-uniform distributions tai-

lored to our application.

For our option pricing accelerators, we need two inde-

pendent, normally distributed random numbers for each time

step of a single simulated stock price path. In general, non-

uniformly distributed random numbers are generated in two

steps: First, a uniform random number generator creates uni-

formly distributed values, and in a second step this number is

transformed into the desired target distribution.

For the uniform random number generation, a lot of research

has already been made leading to efficient and well-proven

implementations, such as the Mersenne Twister MT19937 that

we use. The three main approaches for obtaining non-uniform

distributions are transformation, rejection, and inversion meth-

ods [15].

For FPGAs, inversion methods are the usual way to go.

They combine many desireable properties: by applying the

respective inverse cumulative distribution function (ICDF),

they transform every input sample x ∈ (0,1) from a uniform

distribution to one output sample y = icdf(x) of the desired

output distribution by using piecewise polynomial approxima-

tion of the ICDF. The works of Woods and VanCourt [17] and

Cheung et al. [4] show FPGA implementations of the inversion

method.

However, both implementations use fixed-point number

representations at the input. This leads to a loss of precision

in the tail regions where the probability of a value lying there

is very low. But these extreme events can have a large impact,

for example for options with barriers it is crucial to know if a

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barrier was hit or not, since it completely changes the refund

conditions. We have therefore developed a new implementa-

tion based on floating-point representation that provides the

same precision over the whole ICDF implementation at much

lower hardware costs. This work has been presented at the

2010 International Conference on ReConFigurable Computing

and FPGAs (ReConFig) in December in Canc´ un, Mexico [6].

Our random number converter unit requires only about half

of the area compared to other state-of-the-art implementations

by even higher numerical precision.

To validate our work, it was crucial to develop a new testing

methodology, since standardized test suites do not exist for

non-uniform distributions. This work has been carried out in

cooperation with Elke Korn who has a lot of knowledge in the

field of random numbers. The methodology and the validation

results for our implementation are also presented in the paper.

Our random numbers did not show any noticeable problems

in the stochastic tests and also perfectly passed two different

application simulations.

B. Fully Parallel Hardware Accelerator

To the best of our knowlege, no hardware implementations

of option price accelerators based on the Heston model exist

at the moment. We have therefore started with the first imple-

mentation, that is nearly finished now. The hardware is fully-

parallel, fully-pipelined and designed for high throughput.

Uniform Random

Number Generator

Floating-Point

Gaussian Converter

Ethernet

Interface

FPGA Board

Temporary

Values

Memory

Heston Step Generator

Unit

Coarse

Step

Unit

variationsvolatilityprice

Host PC

Ethernet

Stack

Multi-Level

Monte Carlo

Controller

User Interface

Uniform Random

Number Generator

Configuration

Memory

Floating-Point

Gaussian Converter

Fig. 4.Fully Parallel Accelerator Structure

Figure 4 shows the structure of one pipelined accelerator

circuit. In each clock cycle, our unit consumes two normally

distributed random numbers, one for the stock price variation

and one for the volatility variation. The Heston step generator

unit calculates the price and volatility values for the next

time step based on a multi-level Monte Carlo algorithm. The

pipeline depth is about 60 stages. In order to maximally

utilize the pipelined hardware, it computates one time step

for 60 assets in parallel, before moving to the next time

step. The values for the respective time steps are stored in

a memory temporarily. The coarse step memory holds interim

values for a higher step width, this means for a lower Monte

Carlo simulation level. In the configuration memory, all model

parameters are stored.

Due to the inherent parallelism of Monte Carlo simulations,

it is not only feasible but self-evident to instantiate as many

of these circuits as possible on an FPGA in order to increase

the simulation throughput.

The accelerator is implemented on a Xilinx ML-605 evalula-

tion board equipped with a Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA. The board

is connected via Gigabit ethernet to a host PC running the

user interface and the program that calculates and sets the

configuration values for the accelerator based on the retrieved

simulation results.

Synthesis and benchmarking results will be available soon.

We are currently supporting single- and double-precision

floating-point computations and are working on a fixed-point

implementation as well.

VI. OUTLOOK AND FUTURE WORK

Also for the intended future work a close cooperation

between financial mathematics and electrical engineering will

be mandatory, since we are planning to research aspects out

of both fields.

One characteristic of the Monte Carlo method is the inherent

capability to parallelize the calculation. It therefore makes no

difference whether several calculations are done in parallel but

slowly or only one calculation is done at high speed, as long

as the number of calculations remains equal altogether. At the

moment, our parallel implementation allows simulating one

time step on many assets simultaneously. The whole procedure

of calculating one time step is fixed on the FPGA and limited

to a single algorithm that is set at design time.

One possible way to improve this is to sequentially com-

pute the basic calculations needed for one time step on a

Application-Specific Instruction-Set Processor (ASIP) within

the FPGA, i.e. it is runtime-programmable. This procedure

can reduce the required area and allows to calculate various

algorithms since the functionality is defined in a corresponding

program. It is therefore sufficient to load a different program

without changing the hardware. The ASIP will occupy much

less area than the parallel implementation presented in Sec-

tion V-B, therefore many ASIPs can be instantiated in parallel.

We are currently investigating the necessary instruction set.

To increase the speed of the implementation even more,

the floating-point computation can be replaced by fixed point

computations. In order to do so, errors resulting from the use

of fixed-point calculations have to be approximated. This task

will also require both theoretical and practical expertise.

Besides working on the implementation, the benchmark

is very important to evaluate the designs. It will also allow

to research fixed-point solutions with respect to necessary

precision. Further steps will be to publish the analysis of the

algorithms with the benchmark in a journal. To increase the

transparency even more, we are currently setting up a web

site offering all the program code used to create the analysis.

It will contain an implementation of the multi-level and the

Page 6

crude Monte Carlo algorithm with a focus on the calculation

complexity rather than the implementation.

To provide more benchmarking results, also for different

architectures, we are working on a GPGPU implementation.

It provides more flexibility and less implementation work than

hardware designs do, but also requires higher energy consump-

tion. In order to verify this assumption the implementation is

required. The Monte Carlo simulation algorithm for the Heston

model is currently carried out as a student work.

Moreover, we are currently researching on real-time accel-

eration of financial calculations. This means that hardware or

GPGPU accelerators are linked to real-time data streams. This

approach seems to be very promising for keeping track with

the prices changing quickly in high-frequency trading.

VII. CONCLUSION

The financial world is running faster and faster and the

importance of energy consumption increases drastically. To

address this challenge the question of pricing double barrier

options in the Heston setting is faced. As the model is more

complex than the famous Black-Scholes model and these

types of options are path dependent, the algorithms for the

calculations are more distinct and also the implementation

thereof. In order to be able to cope with the strong connection

between the algorithm and the implementation, a combined

mathematical and electrical engineering view is needed. (CM)2

provides a perfect framework to do so.

To approximate the pricing process Monte Carlo simulations

are used. For a good implementation a fast algorithm with

an adjusted implementation thereof is needed. In order to

distinguish the different algorithms we have created a bench-

mark set for double barrier options. This benchmark allows to

fairly analyze and compare the diverse algorithms and designs,

which is a very important issue due to the big differences in

the convergence speed of these algorithms.

For the target architecture, using FPGAs is the hardware of

choice if implementation time is not considered. It allows fast

computation with low energy consumption. Nevertheless, op-

timal FPGA designs require deep understanding of the FPGA

characteristics and the calculations need to be optimized for it.

One commonality of all the Monte Carlo algorithms is the use

of (pseudo-)random numbers. In the Heston setting standard

normal random numbers are used. There are procedures to

create these running efficiently on GPGPUs and CPUs. A

new method was presented which is very efficient for an

implementation on a FPGA.

The detailed analysis of the diverse algorithms was used to

make an efficient implementation. Therefore the algorithm is

implemented on an FPGA. This should allow a fast compu-

tation with low energy consumption. As far as we know, this

will be the first implementation of a Monte Carlo simulation in

the Heston model on a FPGA. Furthermore it will be the first

implementation of the multi-level Monte Carlo method on this

hardware. Thus this work expands the field of implementations

of financial mathematical problems on dedicated hardware in

several ways as new concepts are taken into consideration.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We gratefully acknowledge the partial financial support

from Center of Mathematical and Computational Modeling

(CM)2of the University of Kaiserslautern.

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