Thursday, July 19, 2012

DEBS 2012 gong show -- event processing as key to immortality

Peter Pischer, who chaired the "gong show" in DEBS 2012 was looking for volunteers to give a "gong show" talk.  The gong show idea, borrowed from other conferences, and added to DEBS last year, is a forum to present futuristic, compelling ideas  (which not need to have scientific proof).   As Peter approached me in the break to see whether I would like to present, I thought about a past discussion I had with Rainer von Ammon about the singularity idea,  and devised a quick presentation on a topic I don't understand anything about...  I have uploaded the presentation to slideshare --   enjoy! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

DEBS 2012 - our presentation on "basic proactive"

I have written before about the proactive event-driven paradigm that we are investigating in the last couple of years.   Today I have presented some new results in this area, the "basic proactive" model which provides end-to-end solution for a restricted type of applications with several characteristics.  The paper co-authors by Yagil Engel, Zohar Feldman and myself is in the proceedings (will probably be in the ACM digital library soon).   The presentation can be found on slideshare.

Since there has been a slight delay in the schedule, the session chair allowed only 2 questions, one by Alex Buchmann who wondered whether it is wise to introduce new buzzword  like proactive, or position it otherwise.  I think that there are pros and cons, but the buzzword is already there and I'll write about it.
Adrian Paschke, who is interested in the formal aspects, remarked that classical logic will not be sufficient here since conclusions are uncertain and can be retracted.  I answered that we'll probably need non-monotonic logic, maybe combined with some kind of quantitative logic of uncertainty (such as probabilistic logic).  If somebody want to take the challenge and work on the formal model -- let  me know.

More -later. 

DEBS 2012 - highlights of the first conference day

I'll start from the last session - the poster and demo session.  During this session I wore the glasses shown in the picture, and it was the first glance towards the world of the glasses that Google is taking us.   It has a potential, but getting used to it is not intuitive,  one can see menu and then has to put a paper in the place to select among the menu options.   The demo was of an EU project that does human attention detection and  detect whether a person is interested in museum artifacts.  There have been some other demos and posters, many of them from EU projects.  Another interesting ones were one that provide safety alerts for monitoring underground trains, and another one which use events to help collaboration between team of software developers who work together.  

Getting back to the beginning -- the day started with the interesting keynote of Sethu Raman (the industrial keynote), already written about yesterday.    The next session has been an industry session.  It is interesting to note that around 1/3 of the participants here are from industry and not academia,   and the industry track became integral part of the program (not all academic people like it though!). 

In the afternoon there were two scientific papers sessions -- one on pub/sub, the original topic of DEBS, now reduced to a single track per conference,  the other one on "complex and spatial events".   I'll write a few sentences about it - slides can already be found on the conference's site

  • The first paper was presented by Martin Hirzel from the IBM System S team about parallel complex event processing, Martin started with the old assertion that CEP is part of stream processing, since it is doing only pattern matching, while stream processing can also do aggregations.  I was never sure why this distinction is important, furthermore, as I have written before CEP is used by different people to mean different things, thus I would say that "event processing" is the name of functionality that does all.  In any event, the talk about parallel incremental computation was interesting.
  • The second paper was presented by Alex Artikis from NCSR and event recognition (pattern matching) based on event calculus.   Formal approaches can be useful for that domain, and the event calculus is one of the first attempts to do it.  I have some terminology dispute with Alex, who equates the notion of fluent from event calculus to composite event.  I think it is actually refers to a state that can be initiated and terminated by events, and may serve as context or state. 
  • The third paper was presented by Michael Olson,  Mani Chandy's PhD student in CalTech.  He presented the latest on their going on project on geo-spatial events (relate to seismic events)
  • The fourth paper was present by Boris Koldehpfe from University of Stuttgart, who also active in the community for several years.  Boris talked about range queries in distributed event processing systems, where range queries relate to spatial operators on events.   It seems that the spatial dimension which was also discussed in the previous talk is gaining more traction. 
 I'll write about the sessions of today at a later point.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

DEBS 2012 - keynote by Sethu raman

This morning started by some statistics about paper acceptance by Patrick Eugster, the PC chair. It seems that the acceptance rate in the scientific track was lower than previous years.  

The first keynote was given by Sethu Raman, who was until recently the "distinguished engineer" in Microsoft responsible for StreamInsights.    Sethu gave a relatively short talk (with a lot of questions and discussions) entitled "event processing solutions in the enterprise - a waypoint or launchpad". The illustration above is taken from his opening slides, he had such nice illustrations and citations all over.

You can download Sethu's presentation from the DEBS 2012 webpage (the organizers is doing a good job by copying the presentations from the presentation computer and posting it on the website quickly). 

The main message of Sethu is not surprising (as seen from the information management universe):

  •  Event processing has a big potential to play in multiple roles -- real-time analytics,  ETL.  distributed query framework 
  • It also plays in many different industries and is not a niche play
  • There is a major issue is of conception.  There is aggressive messaging of the "analytics" community which drowns the event processing message in some cases,  The analytics community claim that they can solve all problems of the universe by database centered way, and that event processing is required only for small niche of very low latency requirements that cannot be satisfied by DBMS technology.
  • The reality is that the value proposition of event processing is not restricted to the low latency, it is actually reducing the high cost of developing applications - however this message is not heard in a clear enough voice, relative to the other aggressive voices.
  • The term "complex event processing" is a confusing term,

I have discussed it with Sethu in the break,  I actually agree to all the assertions.  The over-hype of analytics, and the messaging that comes sometimes from the analytics people (which is not really backed up by technical facts) makes the impression that analytics subsume the functionality that is proposed by event processing.   I am not sure how ling the over-hype of analytics will continue (I think this is quite high in the hype-cycle and will get to the disillusionment phase, since it is indeed over-hyped),  but the messaging of the event processing community about its ROI as complementary and sometimes contrasting to analytics should be cleared heard.   How? -- this is part of the discussion about the EPTS online magazine.

More - later 

Monday, July 16, 2012

DEBS 2012 tutorial on event processing design patterns

In the morning I had to attend the tutorial that I have co-presented,  but in the afternoon I was free to chose among three tutorials.  Out of sheer laziness I stayed in the same room and listened to the tutorial given on behalf of the EPTS reference architecture workgroup.   The gang of four that presented this tutorial were:
  • Paul Vincent (who gave his performance wearing a papillon  tie - I hope that somebody took a picture of him, I have put a picture of some papillon tie as a place holder)

      Paul was the main presenter, and also presented the TIBCO interpretation and the Oracle one (covering  
      for Alex Alves who couldn't arrive).
  • Adrian Paschke - who presented the Prova interpretation (Prova is an open source that he co-developed)
  • Catherine Moxey - who presented the IBM Websphere Operational Decision Management (WODM) intepretation 
  • Martin Hirzel - who represented IBM Infosphere Streams

I need to review this tutorial carefully in order to comments,  but several comments off-hand;

First - I think that the team has done a very thorough work of trying to classify functions, map them to various implementations, they also attempted to map them to the EPIA book that Peter Niblett and myself have composed.   

I need to think more carefully about some terminology issues --- first, I am not sure that what they presented are really design patterns as defined in software engineering by the original gang of four.  I think that what was done is more classification of functions not really design practices.  Their classification is to four major classes: event reaction, complex event detection, event analysis and event preparation. 

The complex event detection contain three functions:  consolidation, composition and aggregation.  I am not really sure that the definitions are intuitive, but I am taking as an action item to look at the definition and right a detailed review of them.   There are some other stuff that worth reading and reviewing, including validating the relationships that they made with the EPIA patterns (again in EPIA these are functions and not patterns).

The mapping to the different languages is also very interesting.  Work on real best practice of patterns and anti-patterns will be a good next step.

More -later

DEBS 2012 tutorial on uncertainty in event processing

Some people react badly to uncertainty, as seen in the illustration above,  some people are very good in dealing with uncertainty,  I am still uncertain to which of these two categories I belong.
Today I have delivered a tutorial on uncertainty in event processing,  in the tutorial day that precedes the main conference of DEBS.   
The tutorial was 3 hours, I delivered around half of it, and the other half was given by Alex Artikis.  Fabiana Fourier and Zohar Feldman from our team in IBM Haifa Research Lab participated in the preparation.         I have written earlier this year about the issue of uncertainty in event processing.   In the tutorial we provided some motivation, talked about the representation of uncertainty, handling uncertainty, and Alex contributed his part by talking about different AI techniques to uncertainty event handling.  I'll write a series of posts about the different chapters of this tutorial in a later phase, but meanwhile you can view this presentation on slideshare.    I'll write more on DEBS 2012 later.