There is no substitute for experience! Former US government electronics leader’s MT4 compatible automated trading system
Sheldon B Gardner has 63 years of experience in the electronics and software engineering business. Today he develops cloud based automated trading systems that retail brokers could use to bring their clients nearer to an institutional trading experience without the cost, plus a few very interesting innovative methods of setting up trading platforms and hosting them. We speak to the man himself.
In 1957, New York native Sheldon B Gardner commenced his foray into the world of electronics and computer software, having graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from City University of New York’s School of Engineering.
Fifty-six years ago, Mr. Gardner completed his Masters degree in Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering, graduating from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute.
Despite the long and illustrious history of institutional electronic trading which dates back to the 1970s, and the multi-faceted retail ecosystem which it spawned some twenty years later, very few, if any, professionals in this business have the roots of their career dating back over six decades.
Mr. Gardner, who is an astute, urbane and very switched-on financial technology leader, can lay claim this, as he is still very much continuing his innovative developments, having in 2009 founded SkyDesks, which is a firm that provides a MetaTrader 4-based WebTrader for autotrading EAs and signals, as well as a VPS which can be integrated into the MetaTrader 4 platform and provided a simple, ergonomically refined method of reducing latency and keeping the cost down for retail traders wishing to achieve the closest possible experience to that of a co-location effort by an institutional firm.
With regard to the inspiration behind establishing the firm, Mr. Gardner explained to FinanceFeeds today “For many years, MetaTrader 4 has been a de-facto standard platform for Forex trading.”
“MetaTrader 4 is licensed to brokers and offered as a free download to the trader’s PC. However, if a Forex trader trades from a PC, he risks loss of connectivity to the broker while in a trade. This loss can occur in several ways, including ISP disconnections or network outages. The Forex VPS- usually rented by the month- is a practical means of permanently connecting MT4 to a broker’s server” said Mr. Gardner.
“When trades are placed from the VPS, the trader is protected against a loss of connectivity. Today, all rented MetaTrader 4 VPSs reside on Windows Servers. SkyDesks is a ‘next generation’ VPS where the MetaTrader 4 resides on a Linux server located in a cloud data center” – Sheldon B Gardner, CEO, SkyDesks
“SkyDesks is user friendly, intuitive, and Linux is highly reliable with no risk of the infamous ‘blue screen of death’. Unlike a Windows VPS SkyDesks natively connects MT4 to the broker from any web browser. Also, SkyDesks is the first, and only, Forex VPS to offer autotrading from a smart phone” said Mr. Gardner.
Mr. Gardner, who joined the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 1961, spent many years working for the US government in Washington DC, during which time he led several projects and has actually had specific designs patented.
He holds the US patent number 5428358 for the Apparatus for GPS Ionosopheric Mapping which is a single-site method of determining the local total electron content (TEC) of the ionosphere and its space-time variation using a global positioning system (GPS) ionospheric receiver. The TEC of the ionosphere is specified in terms of a space-time map of the local TEC in the vicinity of the receiver.
During the latter part of his career, Mr. Gardner worked at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, where he worked on this patent which was subsequently assigned to the the U.S. Navy.
As a result, Mr. Gardner’s understanding of ultra-modern cloud based infrastructure and how to maintain constant connectivity is second to none.
Mr. Gardner considers that maintaining a reliable connection to the live markets via multiple devices is vital, thus we moved on to the subject of mobile applications.
“We demonstrated a prototype of the smartphone app about six months ago” he explained. “In this particular application, a control panel for the expert advisers (EAs) appears as a web page with user variable settings- like lot size. The same technology is used to control the EA on-off, and currently I am quite sure that no mobile MT4 app has this autotrading capability.”
Mr. Gardner demonstrated this system, which has a simple button which resides at the bottom of the charts on the web trader, that can turn EAs on or off, as the EAs are integrated into the actual platform itself.
To be able to achieve uniformity across all devices and connectivity that applies to all machines being used by a trader, Mr. Gardner explained that trading applications themselves can be moved from being held locally on a PC to the cloud.
“What has been done for MT4 can be done- easily with available native code- for large trading applications” explained Mr. Gardner.
“This would make them web-friendly and no downloads would be required. SkyDesks MT4 is a prototype, or pathfinder. The important advantage with this type of system is cloud automation” he concluded.
As someone with 25 years experience in this industry, particularly on the infrastructure architecture side which is where I began my career in 1991 at what is now BT Radianz, Mr. Gardner’s understanding and overall approach to infrastructure development strikes a chord, as credentials and an innovative mind with so much experience spanning over almost twice most of our lifetimes, Mr. Gardner is still very avantgarde, ultra-modern and continues to understand the next generation of market infrastructure, which I would say is a very good combination of experience and forward thought.