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Complex Event Processing (CEP), is an approach for building and managing event-driven information systems. While the core notion is nothing new, lately there has been some good research and thought in this area. My interest in this topic is due to the good works from both David Luckham, and Gartner's Roy Schulte, who have been doing some interesting work in this area, and lately there have been some clear links toward SOA. Cleary CEP is a fundamental integration foundation concept that I touched on many times in the 3 books I wrote on application integration.

So, what is CEP exactly? From David Luckham's Web site, www.complexeventprocessing.com:

Complex Event Processing (CEP) is an emerging technology for building and managing information systems including:

  • Business Activity Monitoring
  • Business Process Management
  • Enterprise Application Integration
  • Event-Driven Architectures
  • Application Servers and Middleware
  • Network and Systems Security

CEP is an emerging technology for building and managing information systems. The goal of CEP is to enable the information contained in the events flowing through all of the layers of the enterprise IT infrastructure to be discovered, understood in terms of its impact on high level management goals and business processes, and acted upon in real time. This includes the events created by technologies such as RFID. CEP employs techniques such as detection of complex patterns of many events, event streams processing, event correlation and abstraction, event hierarchies, and relationships between events such as causality, membership, and timing, and event-driven processes."

CEP is primarily an event processing concept dealing with the task of processing multiple events from an "event cloud" with the goal of identifying the meaningful events within the "event cloud." CEP employs techniques such as detection of complex patterns of many events, event correlation and abstraction, event hierarchies, and relationships between events such as causality, membership, and timing, and event-driven processes. Thus, it goes well beyond the core concept of having many entities sending, receiving, and processing events; it's truly complex.

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