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A matching engine is an algorithm that operates on an order book and matches and determines prices at which orders are matched. A theoretical study of matching is proposed by Jean-François Mertens's limit price mechanism.
Matching engine term is also used to describe the technology to cross buyer and seller trades in regulated, dark pools and OTC markets. The underlying technology need to support different types of orders (limit, market, stop loss) and implement several Matching rules. Some technology providers such as List, SmartTrade Technologies or Cinnober are specialised in providing matching Engine.