Martin Thompson


High Performance Computing Specialist at Real Logic

Kevlin is an architecture, software design and patterns expert. He is one of Europe’s most popular keynote speakers.

Martin is a Java Champion with over 2 decades of experience building complex and high-performance computing systems. He is most recently known for his work on Aeron and SBE. Previously at LMAX he was the co-founder and CTO when he created the Disruptor. Prior to LMAX Martin worked for Betfair, three different content companies wrestling with the world largest product catalogues, and was a lead on some of the most significant C++ and Java systems of the 1990s in the automotive and finance domains.

He blogs at, and can be found giving training courses on performance and concurrency when he is not cutting code to make systems better.

Recent Interviews

(right click to open links)

Interview with Martin Thompson on High Performance Java

YOW! 2012: Martin Thompson – Mechanical Sympathy and High Performance Coding

YOW! 2012: Dave, Martin and Todd – The Loadstone Foundation

YOW! 2011: Martin Thompson – On Concurrent Programming and Concurrency Folklore


(right click to open links)

Aeron: The Next Generation in Open-Source High-Performance Messaging by Martin Thompson – YOW! 2014

How Did We End Up Here? by Todd L. Montgomery, Martin Thompson – YOW! 2014

Lock-free Algorithms for Ultimate Performance by Martin Thompson – YOW! 2012


(right click to open links)

Aeron: Efficient reliable UDP unicast, UDP multicast, and IPC message transport

Agrona: High Performance data structures and utility methods for Java and C++

Simple Binary Encoding (SBE) – High Performance Message Codec

Disruptor by LMAX-Exchange

YOW! 2012 Brisbane

Lock-free Algorithms for Ultimate Performance


In the challenge to reach the lowest possible latencies, as we push the boundaries of transaction processing, the good old fashioned lock imposes too much contention on our algorithms. This contention results in unpredictable latencies when we context switch into the kernel, and in addition limits throughput as Little’s law kicks in. Lock-free and wait-free algorithms can come to the rescue by side-stepping the issues of locks, and when done well can even avoid contention all together. However, lock-free techniques are not for the faint hearted. Programming with locks is hard. Programming using lock-free techniques is often considered the realm occupied only by technical wizards. This session aims to take some of the fear out of non-locking techniques. Make no mistake this is not a subject for beginners but if you are brave, and enjoy understanding how memory and processors really work, then this session could open your eyes with what is possible if you are willing to dedicate the time and effort in this amazing subject area. The attendees will learn the basics of how modern Intel x86_64 processors work and the memory model they implement that forms the foundations for lock-free programming. Empirical evidence will be presented to illustrate the raw throughput and potential latencies that can be achieved when using these techniques.