Grant, I'm really not sure there's much "murkiness." We've made it clear from the start that algorithms that live or die based on a few seconds' delay in the data feed don't belong on Quantopian. That should be manifestly obvious from the fact that we only provide minutely data and have stated clearly and repeatedly that we don't intend to change that.
We strive to call each algorithm's handle_data within a fraction of a second after the close of the minute, i.e., after all the ticks from the prior minute are rolled up into a minute bar. Sometimes we fail to do that, because there is some sort of unexpected anomaly in our platform (when those occur, we do our best to figure out what caused them and fix our platform to prevent them from recurring), because our data ingestor falls behind because of a spike in trading volume (this happens occasionally, and we have it on our roadmap to improve our processing speed to make it happen less frequently, but we can't guarantee that it will never happen), or because NxCore delays our data feed (also on our roadmap is adding a second, redundant data feed, but even with a redundant data feed there may be delays caused by the exchanges themselves).
I don't have data at my fingertips about how long after the close of the minute we call handle_data, but I do have second-granularity data about when handle_data finishes. Keep in mind that a user's handle_data's completion can be delayed by CPU-intensive work within the function. Having said that, looking at last Friday's data, the average completion time for handle_data was 1.06 seconds after the close of the minute, with 69% of the calls finishing less than 1 second after the close of the minute, 92% in less than 4 seconds, and 99% in less than 8 seconds.
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