I’ve largely finished my presentation for the October Rules Fest 2009 conference in Dallas at the end of the month. I’m speaking on complex event processing (CEP). My plan is to provide a broad survey of CEP technologies, chiefly concentrating on the similarities and differences between event stream and rules processing. There has been a lot of interest and activity around event processing in the rules community in recent years, and not a little controversy about the best approaches and, indeed, the role, if any, of Rete rules engines in detection of complex events. Constructing the presentation has been something of a journey for me, and hopefully it will prove of interest to those attending the conference.

This is rather last-minute plug for ORF 2009. It is the second year of this ‘alternative’ rules conference which is differentiated by a clear and unashamed focus on technology (there are other well-established rules conferences which focus on application at the business level), and by a wide-ranging interest in several related areas of science and research. For me, some of last year’s highlights included hearing Gary Riley explain how he managed to squeeze so much performance out of the CLIPS engine and listening to Dan Levine’s talk on rule-based mechanisms in the human brain. It’s that kind of event.

The major rule-processing vendors (ILog (now IBM), FICO, Tibco, etc.,) are well represented at the event together with the JBoss team. Charles Forgy, who came up with the Rete algorithm three decades ago, is a star speaker (a fascinating talk is promised on how to maximise the benefits of parallelisation in rules engines). I’m particularly looking forward to hearing Andrew Waterman’s talk on the use of rules processing in game-playing software used to promote sustainability and development of natural resources in Mexico. I’ve been aware of this project for some time. Greg Barton will be reporting on his experiences at Southwest Airlines. There are interesting sessions on rule modelling and aspects of rule languages and DSLs, plenty on CEP, and various talks on constraint programming, rule verification and other topics. And, to remind us all that technology, for technology’s sake, is never a good idea, John Zackman will be there to talk about the role of rules in Enterprise Architecture.

ORF 2009, only in its second year, offers an incredibly varied diet for the rule technologist. Together with the boot camps and introductory sessions at the beginning of the programme, it offers practical hands-on experience, a chance to learn about rules processing in depth, a showcase for the wide-ranging application of rules in many different areas of IT and an insight into many areas of research.

Places are still available, I understand. The cost is kept as low as possible by the conference organisers, so visit http://www.octoberrulesfest.org for more information and book in while you can.