Back at home. In the previous two days I have attended an EU conference in Brussels on FET (Future Emerging Technologies) Flagship. The EU is recently acting to diversify its R&D investments, and launch some new programs in addition to the traditional programs that will keep running. One of this new ways is PPP (Public/Private Partnership) that is aimed at short term more engineering oriented projects, while the FET flagship goes to the opposite direction: launch two very ambitious large 10-years projects, with around 1B Euro investment in each.
They have brought some examples of projects in that scale such as: Large Hardon Collider, The Human Genome project and some others, with varying degrees of success. The rule of the game is that 5-6 ideas will be given a year (and a funding of around 1.5M Euro each) to develop the program (including partnership around the world, funding sources -- the EU will fund only part, expect that national funding agencies will support it as well as others), and out of them 2 will be selected.
In the last couple of days I have heard a lot of talks about potential proposals, many of them will probably merge, others will disappear. The commission people are encouraging people to merge and share, they don't think it is reasonable to have more than 10-15 proposals. One of the important tests for the proposals is the grandmother test: If you can explain your grandmother in one sentence what it does in terms that your grandmother will understand, then you'll be able to sell the idea to politicians. IMHO most of the presentations I have heard fail to satisfy this property, especially all the ones which has technology in their center. The promising directions relate to Biology -- human brain, breakthrough in robotics, and socio-technical systems.
What is the relationship to the "event processing grand challenge"? --- this may be one of the vehicles to advance the grand challenges, however, since the two flagship projects will start in 2013 -- we need to find other avenues to start earlier.
Event processing is relevant to everything, the human brain is very much event-driven, robots are in many cases event-driven, social evolution is event-driven and more.
One of the challenges is to sell the contribution of event processing to these projects, in discussing with one of them, they thought that they indeed need to process events, but there is no research here, just hard dirty work of programing. I told them that our research issue is how to eliminate the hard dirty work of programming in conventional languages and provide for them something much more high-level with "easy clean work" instead. They have not thought of it this way, since we have not reached out to these communities yet, I gave the analogy that 40 years ago everybody has created home-made database, until the relational database changed the picture, this is exactly what we are doing, raising the level of abstraction.
Next --- see where this can fit and how it can intersect with the EP grand challenge, and determine how to position it (in my talk on live ecology I have equated event processing to the nervous system of a human body). My presentation on live ecology is now on slideshare.
More - later.