Friday, May 6, 2011

More on black swan events

Today I had a procedure of tooth extraction and bone transplant.  so I am semi-functioning with stitches in my mouth for the next week.    The reasons for the fuel pollution that paralyzed all flights from Israel yesterday is still in investigation, so the event was not classified yet to black or white swan.  If it will be classified to a black swan event this will be a second instance of the same event within 5 years, so it is interesting if a second instance qualifies as a black swan.  

Some comments about my previous posting claimed that a black swan event cannot be predicted by definition, however event processing can act to decrease the damage and mitigate its outcomes,  maybe the consequences of the black swan events can be predicted and some action need to be taken.  I guess that one of the interesting applications of proactive computing is to deal with consequences of black swan events, and then monitor white swan events to track the progress towards or away from undesired consequences.    More on this topic - later.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Black swan event?: Fuel pollution in Ben-Gurion Airport

Israel is a one-airport country  (there are several small ones for internal flights, but with the exception of some charter flights, all international flights go through Ben-Gurion Airport, near Tel-Aviv, given this fact, anytime that this airport does not function (e.g.due to strike) it becomes a major news item.  Today all aircrafts were grounded due to the fact that the fuel that were inserted to the aircrafts was polluted, due to a pollution that has been discovered in the fuel facility in the airport, many flights were cancelled, and other delayed were filled with a small amount of fuel that will enable them to fly to one of the nearest airport (mostly in Cyprus, some in Jordan) and refuel, the picture above taken from the YNET news site show passengers that are stranded in the airport,     Is such event a black swan event ?   seems so, but surprisingly this is the second instance of this event, such event happened before at the same airport a few years ago, and took a day to recover.     

From event processing point of view the interesting questions about such events are:
  • Can black swan events be predicted?  first time that they happen?  second time that they happen? - this actually similar to the question - can we instantiate Merphy's laws -- infer everything that can go wrong? 
  • How can rules and actions about  treating black swan events can be set, if we cannot even imagine the event's nature? 
The earthquake in Japan made thinking about black swan events more popular,  the challenge is to advance the thinking in that area.      

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Event processing for oil and gas -- Microsoft Streaminsight presentation

A video describing some event processing applications (mainly aggregations) for the oil and gas industry with Microsoft Streaminsight has been posted.   It explains some of the principles of event driven architecture, then the "standing queries" Microsoft Streaminsight architecture and some use cases.    Another evidence that event processing can  be used for all industries.     Enjoy!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Startup review: Hstreaming

Late last week I got a briefing on a new startup  - HSTREAMING.   The briefing was delivered by an ex-colleague in IBM Research, Volkmar Uhlig.   The idea behind HSTREAMING is providing Hadoop-based platform that enables running aggregations, filtering and some forms of event pattern matching in real-time.  The idea is that since there is a growing use in Hadoop,  Hadoop-based applications, which is batch-oriented, will be developing more and more extensions that require online processing along with the batch processing.  This is the Hadoop variation of using database and stream processing together.    Certainly and interesting direction; I think that we are seeing variations of MapReduce coupled with event processing in various places.  I'll continue to follow this direction.   

Sunday, May 1, 2011

La vita è bella

I have a tradition to write about the holocaust day, two years ago I have written about my father and the king Alfred,  a posting that brought me many reactions from around the world.   Today is the eve of the holocaust day in Israel, and the TV broadcasts all evening holocaust related programs an movies.   My daughters called me to watch a movie called: La vita è bella, an Italian speaking movie  (in Israel the movies are not dubbed, they are sub-titled talking about father and son, both Italian Jewish, sent to a concentration camp, and the father plays for the son as if everything is one big game, and saves him various times.   It is a great movie (three academy awards),  where besides the plot there is a lot of symbolics, the idea to view all the events in the concentration camp as a game, where in some points the child discovers the reality, and tells his father that he heard that they are doing buttons and soap from people, and burning them, and his father treats it as if it is all just a joke.   
As I have written before, my late father, who was a sole survivor of a big family, used to say that this period occurred on another planet, and people who were not there, cannot understand it.   I think that it is good that one day a year is dedicated here to educate the younger generation which is two generations removed and give them some glance on that dark period. 

Event processing and Erlang

These two pictures are taken from the recent family trip to Barcelona.  In the second one you can see also my wife and my daughters Adi and Daphna (my daughter Hadas is the photographer).  Daphna also uploaded many pictures of the trip to Facebook  (with tagging in Hebrew). 

Recently I came across a posting in Streambase's  Blog,  talking about embedding Erlang in the Streambase development environment, under the title: Streambase loves Erlang.   It is worth mentioning that there have been some views about the use of Erlang in event processing before,  first by Marco Sierio in the Rulecore Blog, a while ago, and a related presentation talking about the use of Erlang in inference rules, was presented by SAP Research.  
Erlang is actually quite an old  language, a functional language that is aimed at massively concurrent applications.   Personally as an old-timer, I like functional programming more than object-oriented imperative languages,  and happy to see a revival of such languages.   It might be interesting idea to write event processing functionality using Erlang.  I am toying with the idea to play with it by means of students projects' next time I am teaching event processing course (in the fall).   I may ask for people who have done it for best practices.