Saturday, July 18, 2009

Call for active participation in the 5th EPTS event processing symposium - Trento, September 21-23, 2009

As we are now in the high gear on planning the 5th event processing symposium, here is a call for active participation. It will be phrased in Q&A format:

Question: What is the Event Processing Symposium ?

This is an annual meeting, intended primarily for EPTS members, but open to other invitees up to the capacity limitation. It features some presentations and a lot of panels and discussions in the areas that are geared towards the understanding and advancing the state of the art and state of the practice in event processing. The previous symposium's program can be found on the ep-ts site.

Question: Where will the symposium take place?

The symposium will take place in Trento, Italy. The four previous meetings have been held in the USA, and since there is a big event processing community outside the USA, we thought of having the next one in Europe and call the large EP community in Europe to participate.
Trento university offered to host the meeting, they also host the symposium's website which currently includes information on the venue, and a registration form, and will also contain the program in the future.

Question: Who can participate ?

As said, the meeting is intended for EPTS members, however, other interested persons can apply and ask to participate. Based on the past experience, there will be some slots for non EPTS members. Participation is by invitation only, and requests for invitations can be done using the symposium's website.

Question: Are there participation fees ?

All EPTS activities are free of charge. Besides the symposium, there will be a banquet, to be held in
Castel Toblino, a 12th century castle situated in the Toblino lake, in the evening of September 22. The banquet requires pre-registration and payment for the event and transportation. Details can be found in the registration form.
This is the Castle Toblino where the banquet is planned to be held.

Question: What is the notion of "active participation" ?

Unlike conferences where people come to hear presentations and maybe ask the presenters some questions, the notion of symposium is having the participants actively participate, this is done through the various panels that exist, which provide the possibility to present position statement, and discussions held with the audience. There are also some presentation opportunities. Below I am bringing an annotated plan of the symposium's session, annotating the opportunities for active participation, and then summarize the active participation opportunities.

Question: What sessions will be included in this year's program this year?

Here is an annotated list of the sessions. The meetings will last from 8:30AM to 6:45PM in the first and second day, and until 1PM in the third day.

The first day -- September 21 Monday.

Session I: EPTS - current state and further missions

We shall start (and end) the symposium by discussing the role of EPTS, what was achieved so far, and its missions for the future. This is an opportunity for active participation.

Session II:
EPTS Use Case Working Group

This session will report the progress of the EPTS use case working group and will discuss the results and further activities.

Session III: Event Processing customers feedback

In this session we'll have a keynote address by a customer (TBD) and a panel made by customers providing feedback about the state of the practice and further directions from customers' point of view.
This is an opportunity for active participation.

Session IV: Event Processing Research Contributions

In this session we'll hear several contributions from the research community about interesting research projects that are being held, there are already some requests for presentations, but there is a room for a couple of more presentations.
This is an opportunity for active participation

The Second Day - September 22 - Tuesday

Session V: Reaching out – Event Processing and Business Process Management

During this symposium we shall have two sessions dedicating to "reaching out", dealing with the relationships between "event processing" as a discipline to other disciplines. The first of them is for relationships with the BPM area, following recent and planned discussions and meetings about even-driven BPM, the session will feature a keynote address by professor John Mylopoulos, a prominent researcher on the topic of Business Level Monitoring, followed by a panel that consists of people from both communities, and discussion with the audience.
This is an opportunity for active participation

Session VI: EPTS Event Processing Languages Analysis workgroup

This session will report the progress of the EPTS languages analysis working group and will discuss the results and further activities.

Session VII: Reaching out – Event Processing and Network/Systems Management

This will be the second reaching out session for the area of network and system management which is a kind of event processing area that have been restricted to the boundaries of an application so far (see David Luckham's interview with Tom Bishop, the CTO of BMC).
The session will start with a keynote address of Dr. Kristian Stwart, the network availability architect in IBM Tivoli, formerly engineering director of Micromuse Netcool/Omnibus. This will be followed by a panel that consists of people from the two communities.
This is an opportunity for active participation
Session VIII : Glossary and Interoperability session (tentative)

This session will deal with EPTS work groups about glossary and interoperability analysis, its format has not been determined yet.
This is an opportunity for active participation

The Third Day - September 23 – Wednesday

Session IX: Architecture

This session will report the progress of the EPTS reference architecture working group and will discuss the results and further activities.

Session X: Grand Challenges

This is the closing session, it will feature a panel and open brainstorming about the grand challenges that are ahead of the event processing community, and discuss the preparation for the event processing Dagstuhl seminar planned for May 2010.
This is an opportunity for active participation

An EPTS Business Meeting will follow on Thursday afternoon in the same place, but it is not an official part of the symposium.

Question: Can you summarize all the active participation opportunities ?

Here is the list:

  1. Participation in the panel about EPTS missions.
  2. Participation in the panel about customers feedback about the state of the practice.
  3. Providing presentation in the event processing research projects presentation.
  4. Participating in the panel about the relations between event processing and business process management
  5. Participating in the panel about the relations between event processing and network/system management.
  6. Participating in the panel about event processing grand challenges.
In addition, there will be opportunities for participating in open discussions.

Question: What do I need to do in order to participate in any of these activities?

If you are interested to participate in any of the panels or provide a research presentation, please let me know and I'll forward to the appropriate session chair;
A session chair will be assigned soon and will be responsible for posing questions to the panel and participants, prior to the symposium, and moderate the session.

Question: What should I do now ?

If you want to participate, then use the symposium's website in order to register.

If you want to actively participate in any of the panel, then use Email to notify me about it.

If you know of anybody who might be interested to participate, and is not included in any of the notification forums and mailing list, then please forward him/her the link to this call for participation.

Friday, July 17, 2009

On Declarative programming in event processing

The city of New York has issued a 3 cents value stamp for its 300 anniversary, I am not in the stamp printing business, and wonder how long stamps will survive, but the blogger tool tells me that this is my 300 posting on this blog, in almost two years. Since recently I am dealing in languages, today I'll share some thoughts about declarative programming and its implications on event processing. John Bates told in his DEBS keynote about his experience, in the assumptions they had when developing Apama in the lab, and how these assumptions were slightly changed when got out of the lab. This is a phenomenon that I know well from a few times over my life that I have been involved with getting ideas from the lab to reality. Of course, the closer that your assumptions made in the lab are to reality, the faster time-to-market you have, and better success probability. Among the opinions that I used to hold is that declarative programming is always superior on imperative programming, in imperative programming, people need to work difficult needlessly, while in declarative programming, programming is more elegant and easier. I did not really changed my mind, however, reality shows that its ain't that clear cut. Getting to a neighboring area, it is well known half-secret in the business rules industry, that while all BRMS products support RETE style declarative inference rules, most users prefer to use a more imperative looking "sequential rules; I think that the reason is that in inference rules the flow is hidden, each rule is defined individually, and the flow is derived from the fact that some rule derives some fact, and some other rule has such a fact in its conditions, but this makes all the programming as "programming in the small", and the "programming in the large", controlling on how various rules relate to each other, does not exist in this programming style. It turns out that it is important for users to have visibility, and even control on the programming in the large aspects. Coming back to event processing, I believe in a combination of declarative programming for the programming in the small, i.e. to define any individual event processing agent, and making the programming in the large, i.e. the event processing network, explicit. This is not really an imperative model, since the EPN can be implemented in various ways, but it is not pure declarative either. We see that this type of programming model is getting traction.
I'll discuss the various dimensions of event processing languages in depth, in further postings - stay tuned.

Here is a picture I got recently from Matty Cooper, from EventZero, who made all the way from Australia to Nashville to attend DEBS 2009. This picture was taken during the event processing language tutorial

Thursday, July 16, 2009

On the smarter planet and the big brother

An interesting comment to my previous posting on smart cities, said as follows:

Even if I am a big supporter of event based systems, I have a question on this topic. Can you explain me, who is the owner of the event based routing, filtering integration services?

I hope, that you do not think about weather the government, or some industrial companies, cause this would empower them to rule the world.

There need to be a self organizing way like e.g. the Internet, but getting there will be even a larger competition than introducing the web, because of already competing companies in that market segment.

I have written before on the big brother when talking about the previous NY governor whose felling out of power began when a computer program indicated him as suspicious in money laundering. This reminds my of somebody who told me that he is afraid that information is gathered in computerized systems and used for other purposes, that person lived in NY, and moved at some point to live with his girl-friend in New Jersey. He did not want to change his NY address for various reasons (among them not to bother changing his driver licence). He said that he never used EZPASS to pay for toll roads, since somebody could conclude from the fact that he drives every working day in the "garden state parkway" northbound, that he actually lives in NJ.

So the question is -- using all the smarter planet services will have the possibility to gather much information about the individual, who owns this information and what can this information be used to. Governments typically do not own infrastructures, but they have powers to make laws that will compel infrastructure owners to provide information, they do it today. Actually Internet service providers has a potential to know a lot about us. The same goes for events, if we'll have smarter planets, there will be a lot of events about individual person floating around, and if somebody will be able to join events from various sources, this somebody have a potential to know much about us. I guess that here there will be a need to have some legal structure that will prevent infrastructure suppliers as well as governments to abuse this information, like the bank secrecy laws in Switzerland.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More on states and event processing

During my last visit in the USA I have purchased and now reading the book "the last oracle" (nothing to do with the software company that bears this name), one of the thrillers that are based on some history and span around the world, exposing some scheme that will bring disaster on the universe. It seems that this type of books became popular recently.

Anyway, I wanted to come back to the issue of states that I have recently blogged about. Actually the term state in event processing are somewhat overloaded. A state may refer to any of
the following:

  • The internal state of a single agent -- when trying to detect a pattern (say - E1 and E2) there is a need to keep the state, e.g. the fact that E1 already arrived but E2 did not. This can be kept either by keeping the input event as an object, keeping another object somehow derived from the original event, or keeping some internal data structure that helps in the detection.
  • An event store where events are kept for further consumption by other agents -- this is a global (or bounded) state.
  • Reference data that is being used by event processing agents for enrichment, this data is not maintained by the event processing system, but can be considered as part of the event processing state, since the event processing results may depend upon values of this data.
  • Global variables (whether persisted or used on a shared memory) that are being used as a global state across event processing agents.
  • Context -- on which I have blogged several times, which may have temporal, spatial, segmentation and external state (which is indeed a global variable) dimensions.
All of them are in a way part of the system state, they have different roles, though.

BTW -- we have revised the building blocks that we are using in the EPIA book, by replacing event derivation (which is actually part of the event processing agent) with global state.

Among the types of states we mentioned before -- context is a first class citizen in the model, internal state is hidden inside the implementation and is not explicitly modelled (although some languages allow also to model the internal state explicitly) and global state contains all the rest (reference data, event store, global variables). More - Later.

Monday, July 13, 2009

On the vision for smarter cities

The IBM Institute of Business Value has recently published its vision of smarter cities, which is part of the "Smarter Planet" vision on which I have written before. As noted before, the smarter planet vision is based on the fact that the world will be instrumented, interconnected and intelligent. Event processing is the backbone of smarter cities. As smarter cities is been labeled "system of systems", the integration and communication between the different systems is done using events, and the event processing filters, transforms and routes the event among systems. It also crates derived events from one or more systems that may be used by other systems. Event processing technologies have two roles: In the macro level, it is a glue between the systems and is part of the intelligent part of each individual system. I'll write more about some individual systems inside the system of systems. I am trying to get a smarter cities keynote talk in the 5th EPTS event processing symposium --- stay tuned, details about the symposium (Trento, September 21-23) are coming soon.