Tuesday, September 25, 2007

VLDB - and computer science 2.0

Hello from Vienna. Today the VLDB conference started with an interesting talk of Werner Vogels the CTO of Amazon, whose blog is entitled: AllThingsDistributed, and the framework they have built (and that other retailers use), he referred to Amazon as a technology company that happens to do retail. I think that there many touch points of event processing technology with the Amazon model, but did not find him to talk about it. I am Amazon customer for years, somewhere in the late nineties I remember ordering a bunch of books from Amazon, and not receiving them in the designated time, I have sent an Email to Amazon asking about it, the answer amazed me: we don't know what happened, we are sending the order again. A day later I received the original shipment, and sent another Email to Amazon - I got the original shipment, you may stop the substitute one, the answer I got was even more amazing: We cannot trace an order once it was issued, keep the books with our compliments". It seems that now they know how to track their order.

Other two keynote speakers have been Mike Stonebraker and Michael Brodie, two old-timers, who have been around for a while. Stonebraker gave some variation about his repeating message: "One size fits all: A concept whose time has come and gone" which talk about the elephants (Oracle, Microsoft, IBM) DBMS product as an obsolete concept, and shows that for various types of functionality (including "stream processing", of course), a specialized engine is better than a monolithic one, and in fact, the monolithic engines excel at nothing and should be eliminated. The idea that one size does not fit all is probably true, in databases (and also in event processing), one thing to note (and this follows also Mike's talk in EDAPS yesterday), he looks on everything in a single criterion -- speed (latency ?), I think that reality is a little bit more complex.

Mike Brodie started with a nice video with music that was getting louder showing facts about quantities -- size of various databases, internet webpages, use of search engines etc -- and trend (the time everything is duplicated is getting shorter and shorter), he also talked briefly about SOA, and about the need to take a new approach that is application-based, semantics-based, and create Computer Science 2.0 -- however I did not understand what new science is required, and in response to a question he answered --- I presented the problems, leaving the solutions to you. I am not sure that I have understood the problem (except for engineering issues), but let's wait to see if computer science 2.0 will arrive (I think that the term 2.0 is starting to be over-hyped, there were some attempts at SOA 2.0 as combination of SOA and EDA, but I am not sure it caught as a buzzword). Anyway -- whatever Computer Science 2.0 is -- event processing should be one of its fundementals. More later.

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