Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On Defining "EVENT" in Earnest

Professional books are not that funny, this is left for comedies. My favorite comedy of all times is Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of being Earnest". In Hebrew it was translated literally to something like "The importance of seriousness", and everybody who know what it is talking about understands that this translation totally misses the point of this comedy. Anyway, I recalled Oscar Wilde's old play, when reading the book by Mani Chandy and Roy Schulte recently, since they have in their book a section called "defining "EVENT" in Earnest". In this section they are saying that there are three school of thoughts about how EVENT is defined:
  • State-change view - an event is a change in the state of something and as such is reported. Its properties: a change must occur, and this change must be reported. Example: An item previously outside the range of RFID reader, is now within the range of this RFID reader.
  • Happening view -- an event is anything that happens, or is contemplated as happening (the EPTS glossary definition), in this case, a change must occur, but its reporting to the system is optional, not every event according to this definition is of interest to be reported. Example: A person sending Email
  • Detectable-condition view -- an event is a detectable condition that can trigger a notification, in this case a change does not have to occur, but reporting should occur. Example: A GPS devise reporting track location (note -- location may not have changed since last report. since the track driver went for lunch).

This is an interesting observation, some people argue that only the first type is an event, while the other types are not. My view is that all the above are actually events. The question is whether we can come with an inclusive, agreed upon definition of event, maybe the glossary team (co-lead by Roy Schulte) should take this challenge.

More about event types - later.

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