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
"/> The Dawn of the Explosion: Complex Event Processing
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Amid the widespread panic that was going around the financial markets over the past couple of months, a banker in Paris said, "Banks are reacting emotionally to this. The actual issue is in fact, quite small. However, it is the emotional response that has banks reluctant to extend credit at this moment." After a long pause, he added, "If this is what happens now, what will we do when the crisis is real?" Wow. I hadn't seen that one coming. He was actually asking just the right question. We will return to this later.

We live in a tabloid society. Globally. Dramatic stories, preferably about violence, tragedy, sex, money, or ideally all of the aforementioned in combination are what sells. So is it any wonder that vendors turn to hype when a new market emerges? And while the market is emerging, we vendors compete for mindshare. In order to do that, we have to get you to listen. As you get bombarded, you will naturally filter down most of what comes your way. So our job is to convey, as quickly and dramatically as possible, why you cannot live without our offerings. And here lies the dilemma: if we convey a quick dramatic story, you may read it, but are conditioned to not believe it, but if we convey a substantive discussion about this market, it lacks the zest to qualify as interesting to most.

The trouble here is not unlike the trouble in the financial markets, which is how to distinguish the story, the emotion, the hype from the real deal. And most people are appropriately cynical when the message being conveyed prompts action that benefits the messenger. Herein lies the conundrum that you face though: just because the messenger benefits does not invalidate the message, it just makes it suspect.

In that light, I have a thesis, which you should find suspect. My thesis is that the Complex Event Processing (CEP) market is going to be huge. We are on the dawn of this explosion, and I feel it is surely coming. Now, does my company benefit if this comes true? Most certainly we will. So let me see if I can make a fairly quick case for why I think this, and perhaps you may agree. Perhaps not. At a minimum, you should be cynical.

I think the CEP market is going to be huge because it is being driven by a few unmistakable elements and irreversible trends. The volume of data that organizations need to deal with is growing and the time frames in which they need to act are shrinking. CEP is specifically designed to absorb large amounts of data in real-time and analyze that data on the fly. Ok, so now you are wondering how to get your hands on CEP for your organization as soon as possible. Right?


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Smart event processing can help your company run smarter and faster. This comprehensive guide helps you research the basics of complex event processing (CEP) and learn how to get started on the right foot with your CEP project using EDA, RFID, SOA, SCADA and other relevant technologies. Learn More

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