Saturday, August 25, 2012

Acting faster than the speed of thinking

Chris Taylor from TIBCO has written in a Blog with the nice title: "a place for good ideas in a fast changing world" entitled "getting there faster than your opponent".  In the same spirit of TIBCO's two second advantage, it makes the point that event processing is vital for getting things faster than others.  Chris enlists the famous OODA loop originated in the US Air Force, for mentioning that faster decision can impact the combat field.   Note that OODA is one of the variations of  control loops, other variation I have written about is the 4D variation.    
It is interesting to note that speed of reaction has been one of initial reasons for using event processing technology in applications like high frequency trading, where trading programs compete on speed.  I guess that military applications also gain from competition in fast reaction, as well as cyberspace wars.   
While these are notable applications, a common misconception is that event processing is restricted to these type of applications, however, there are many other applications in which competing on speed is not an issue that can benefit from the use of event processing due to the benefits in reducing cost of development and maintenance due to higher level abstractions.  In fact one of the first posts in this Blog, almost five years ago tried to answer the question whether the only motivation to use event processing is high performance?  in this post I have discussed the Total Cost of Ownership as a function,  I guess it is also applicable today.

The two  main observations are:   acting faster than the speed of human thinking issue an important type of event processing applications,  but not the only reason, also in many cases event processing is not enough, and some real-time decision mechanism (reactive or proactive) need to be applied to achieve autonomic action, since the required speed requires the elimination of human from the loop.