For those of you who are interested in complex event processing and decision theory, and in particular, deduction, analysis, and differentiation vis-a-vis induction, synthesis, and integration, I highly recommend you read (don’t hesitate one second) a paper written more than 30 years ago.
The paper is called Destruction and Creation by John R. Boyd, published on September 3, 1976 and is, arguably, the best eight pages you can read. It is amazing that a mere handful of pages written 30 years ago can say more about “complex event processing” than the vast majority of literature we see today.
In a few insightful pages, John Boyd eloquently explains the need for decisions. He synthesizes amazing works-of-science-and-art like Kurt Godel’s World of Mathematics and Logic, Werner Heisenberg’s Indeterminacy Principle with the concepts of confusion and disorder from Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Here is one example out of his paper:
[W]henever we attempt to do work or take action inside such a system—a concept and its match-up with reality—we should anticipate an increase in entropy, hence an increase in confusion and disorder. Naturally, this means we cannot determine the character or nature (consistency) of such a system within itself, since the system is moving irreversibly toward a higher, yet unknown, state of confusion and disorder.
So, when you hear folks complaining about the “confusion” in CEP, please understand that confusion and disorder are natural products of our attempt to do work inside of a body of knowledge. Also keep in mind that the process of creation and destruction of ideas, concepts, notions and abstractions are the very fabric of how we must work to progress the state-of-the-art.
In fact, the more we resist the natural creative and destructive processes, the more we inhibit progress and change. So don’t create draft vocabularies for event processing and then refuse to destroy it with the same ease we drafted it! Remember, we are constantly taking specific concepts and integrating them, creating disorder and confusion while at the same time, we are tearing apart the same abstractions trying to put an end to the confusion we created.
However, we humans hopeless love to cling to our ideas, concepts and we get wrapped up in “who invented this” and “I said this first” and “we defined this already” etc. ad infinitum. Opher Etzion and others want to paint me as “negative” because I want to completely change the direction of much of the current work in event processing. Mark Palmer, now of Streambase, has said I am trying to “destroy CEP” and questions why I “would do such a think to something I love so much.” (Mark even has asked me, endearingly, “What is wrong with you, Tim?!”)
Actually, it is because I love (complex) event processing so much that I am willing to tear the current concepts apart, because until we do, we will be impeding necessary progress and change. This is simply how nature intended it to be and nobody can explain this natural process better than John Boyd.
It is a must read. One final quote (the abstract) :
To comprehend and cope with our environment we develop mental patterns or concepts of meaning. The purpose of this paper is to sketch out how we destroy and create these patterns to permit us to both shape and be shaped by a changing environment. In this sense, the discussion also literally shows why we cannot avoid this kind of activity if we intend to survive on our own terms. The activity is dialectic in nature generating both disorder and order that emerges as a changing and expanding universe of mental concepts matched to a changing and expanding universe of observed reality. – John R. Boyd.