David Luckham, inventor of CEP
Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University

What is CEP?

Complex Event Processing (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 events created by new technologies such as RFID.

Visit the comprehensive CEP website.

Other articles by Dr. Luckham:

BAM And CEP: A Marriage Of Necessity Or: Why BAM Must Use CEP
BAM Providers As Online Banking Fraud Preventers
The Beginnings of IT Insight: Business Activity Monitoring
Grand Visions For e-Commerce Require Solving 'IT Blindness'
Avoiding Disasters Waiting To Happen
"/> Event-Driven Computing: An Introduction
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Editor's note: ebizQ readers can save 30% on any version of Event Processing in Action (print edition or ebook) from www.manning.com. Simply use the promotion code "ebizq30" when checking out.

Some people say that event processing is the next big thing; some people say that event processing is old hat and there is nothing really new in it.

Both groups may be right to a certain extent. As with any field that is relatively new there is some fog around it: some of the fog stems from misconceptions, some from confusing messages by vendors and analysts, and some arises because of a lack of standards, a lack of agreement on terms, and a lack of understanding about some of the basic issues.

Some examples of event-driven computing

Event-driven computing is not new. In the early days of computing, events appeared in the form of exceptions whose role was to interrupt the regular flow of execution and cause some alternative processing to happen.

For example, if a program tried to divide by zero, an exception event would be raised that enabled the programmer to end the program with an error message, or to perform some corrective action and then continue with the computation process. Later on, events featured in Graphical User Interface systems (such as Smalltalk or Java AWT) where UI components ("widgets") are designed to react to UI events such as mouse clicks or key presses.

In this book we are mainly concerned with computing events that correspond to events that occur in the "real world." Here are some examples that also show the benefits of automated event processing; these examples show different types of processing.

Example 1: A patient is hooked up to multiple monitors that either continuously or periodically perform various measurements on the patient. The measurements take the form of events which are then analyzed by an Event Processing system.

A physician can configure this system, on a patient-by-patient basis, so that a nurse is alerted if certain combinations of measurement are detected within a certain time period, and so that if other combinations occur then the physician herself is alerted. This example demonstrates the use of event processing for personalized diagnosis.


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