Thursday, July 12, 2012

The professor's hat

Sometimes people ask me what hat am I wearing now, since I have a reputation of wearing several hats and sometimes switching hats in the middle of a sentence.   

Today I added additional hat - the professor hat.      How did I get this hat?  -- 
around a year ago I was asked to serve as academic adviser to the MIS department in the Yizreel Valley College,  I decided to do it, on top of all other things I am doing, as a kind of contribution to society, contributing to higher education in the periphery, the college resides in a green area in the countryside, around 45 minutes drive from Haifa (depends on the traffic).

 I supervised students seminars and projects, and started a work on help re-design the curriculum.  I have been teaching over the years at the Technion as adjunct faculty member,  but in the college I am in the status of a "real" faculty member (part-time), so I needed academic appointment.   To anybody not familiar with academic processes - academic appointment procedures are inherently long, go through multiple phases, with non-deterministic results, the nominee is totally passive and does not know (unless somebody leaks) who is evaluating, and what the status is.

Since the process is long, I started with temporary appointment, and the process started.   
Today the college president, Aliza Shenhar, called me  (actually I was swimming and she left me a message, I called her back later) to tell me that she is now driving back from the committee of the higher education council (colleges are not authorized to grant professor ranks, so the final decision is within a committee consists of professors from various universities appointed by the higher education council).
It turns out that this committee's meeting was the last milestone in the way to the professor hat (the process took almost a year E2E).   So I can borrow the hat from Professor Dumbeldore (in the picture above).

As the academic hat is a hobby and not my main occupation at the current state, this appointment is not as dramatic as promotion for an academic person,  and everybody (including undergrad students) are calling me by the first name anyway...  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

More on EPTS and an online magazine

One of my most read posts on this Blog this year (actually 2nd place so far), has been a report on the all members conference call of EPTS we held earlier this year.    The idea discussed was to create online magazine as the major activity of EPTS.  After some delay,  in the last few weeks we have advanced in discussions among those who expressed interest.  There has been a keen discussion (conference calls and Email exchange) with some supporters and some concerns.  

Here is a background, and reminder about the history and current state of EPTS.

EPTS was formally founded in June 2008; there were some pre-EPTS activities in the form of event processing symposia, work on glossary and Dagstuhl seminar since March 2006.  EPTS also helped shifting the DEBS conference to become the primary research conference of the event processing community.   
The work in EPTS have been organized around working groups, some of the working groups have created visible results: the glossary is widely cited, the tutorial provided by the language analysis workgroup has more than 9000 views and downloads, the reference architecture workgroup provided several tutorials.  Some other workgroups did not succeed to take-off or create visible deliverables.  EPTS also partnered in initiating the Dagstuhl seminar in 2010 that generated the "event processing manifesto". 

There are 98 registered members in EPTS, 43 organizational members, and 55 individual members, among them 29 people from academia, and the rest are either consultants, or individuals working for non-member organizations.  Some of the members were active in work-groups and participated in meetings, and some were passive.     

Part of the mission of EPTS has been to educate the industry, and reach out to large audience, this mission has not been fully achieved so far, and much of the activities have been more inward-oriented among the members, these activities also decreased with time.  

Discussions late last year and earlier this year brought the idea of trying to reach out to wider audience and have more impact on the industry.  Alan Lundberg from TIBCO did some analysis and raised the idea to concentrate around a website that will be attractive to larger audience.   

In recent weeks we discussed the feasibility of such website and the way to succeed. 

Here are some of my  thoughts following these discussions:

The target audience should include  anybody that deals with events in any form (commercial EP products, custom code, embedded event functionality within products/packaged application, event producing -- such as sensors, event consumption, event transportation and more), and for any purpose (event processing application, event-driven BPM,  event-based decision management, event-based analytics, operational intelligence, continuous BI, Internet of Things,  event-based robotics, autonomic computing, bio-medical applications and more).  In the research community it should also involve both the community whose research area is directed towards advancing the event processing technology, as well as tangent areas such as: operation research, BPM, data mining, robotics, bio-informatics, sensors,  social media and more

 A critical success factor is that the type will appeal to various audiences to generate enough traffic.  Professional management of the site that will be backed on commercial basis is the preferred option;  We are now checking with an experienced person who might take the site ownership and commercial management. .     

A role model for such a site might be the RFID Journal  which seems to be a professional and popular website. 

Some concerns were raised about the feasibility both in demand and supply of content.   We have decided to make a feasibility assessment of these two sides (assessing the demand by doing survey, and locating qualified people who will be willing to be area editors within this website).

 If we'll determine that the feasibility assessment will look positive -- I'll propose to the EPTS members actions to make it happen,  otherwise -- we are back in square one.   Our surveys will go out in a couple of weeks and I'll report the progress on that.   More - later. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Event processing in simulation mode - an Infosphere streams example

I have written in the past about event processing in simulation mode,  recently an article on the IBM developerWork describes an Infosphere Streams implementation of traffic simulation.  

The picture above is taken from the article, a vehicle generator generates simulated events of vehicles. Each round represents 1 second in real-time and cars are accelerating, stopping and behaving according to traffic rules.   This is an example where the stream processing is done not on real-life events, but on simulated events.    The reported benefit of using streams have been the large scale of this simulation (multiple vehicles, rounds of 1 second,  multiple streets).   Besides the scalability aspects, much of the simulated behavior may be expressed using operators on events.    Simulation has been one of the first areas that use some type of event processing, and using event processing for simulation closes a circle.