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September 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

CQG Podcast with Dan Hubscher and Chris Martins

Posted by Apama Audio

In this podcast Dan Hubscher and Chris Martins of Progress Apama discuss the partnership and integration between the Progress Apama Algorithmic Trading Platform and CQG’s modeling and charting tools for Futures traders.

EPTS, the Symposium of Trento

Posted by Louis Lovas

EPTS, the Symposium of Trento
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? I suppose that was a question debated at the Council of Trent that took place in Trento, Italy back in the 16th century. However, the Event Process Technical Society's (EPTS) annual symposium just last week took up residence in Trento to discuss and debate a host of lofty topics on event processing.

  • CEP's role and relationship to BPM (or more appropriately event-driven BPM)
  • Event Processing in IT Systems management
  • Event-based systems for Robotics
  • EPTS Working Groups ...
While the sessions and discussions on event processing did not have the global significance of angels on pin heads or the Counter Reformation it did provide a clear indication of just how broadly and deep event based systems can reach. Whether it's a business application monitoring mortgage applications, IT management systems in a Network Operation Center, bedside monitoring systems in a hospital or a robot packing pancakes into boxes they all have a common underpinning, consuming and correlating streaming event data.

Granted, not everyone approaches it with the same viewpoint. IT Systems Management people don't think about processing and correlating events, they think about device management, KPI's, Alerts and the like. Someone building, managing a business process is likely concerned with managing Orders - validating them, stock allocations, warehouses and shipments. Nonetheless, a common framework model behind these systems is event processing.

Two of my favorite sessions at the EPTS Symposium were a panel session on the EPTS Mission and an open forum on Grand Challenges, a brainstorming session focused on identifying barriers to the adoption of CEP.

EPTS Mission

Four panelists, myself included presented their expectations of the EPTS and it's role as an industry consortium, it's goals and what improvements can be made. As a baseline, the EPTS does have a existing mission statement defined as ...

To promote understanding and advancement of Event Processing technologies, to assist in the development of Standards to ensure long-term growth, and to provide a cooperative and inclusive environment for communication and learning.

Given this mission statement and my own expectations there are a number of basic intentions the EPTS should provide to the uninitiated to event processing:

Awareness   Provide commercial business and industry the necessary knowledge of event processing as a technology supported by numerous vendors with continuing research in academia.
Definition Provide a concise and definitive meaning of event processing,  a Taxonomy of Event Processing so to speak. This is both from the horizontal technology perspective and also a vertical focus for a handful of specific industries. It's often difficult for business people to understand technology without the context of a business or application focus.
Differentiation  Provide a clear distinction that defines event processing and distinguishes it from other technologies. Event processing is available is many forms, this symposium provided evidence of that.  Much of it is available in specialized form as in IT Systems management. There are also pure play event processing (CEP) vendors, such as Progress/Apama. But there are also Rules engines, Business Intelligence platforms, Analytic platforms, etc. This easily presents a bewildering world filled for choice, conflicting and overlapping marketing messages. The EPTS is in the perfect position to provide that clarity behind defining what is CEP and what isn't.
Cooperative Event Processing rarely operates in a vacuum. There are many synergistic technologies that closely pair with CEP. Often this can have a specific vertical business flavor, but often it's other platform technology such as BPM and temporal databases.

The EPTS has four working groups that have been active for the last year: Use-cases, Reference Architecture, Language Analysis and Glossary. To a large extent the working groups have provided and are working towards the definition of CEP that is clear. However, there still a need to highlight the salient value of event processing. For specific vertical domains, the value of CEP is clear-cut simply because the fit and function is tailor made. In Capital Markets, for example algo trading has all the hallmarks of a CEP application - high performance, low latency, temporal analytics and a streaming data paradigm fit-for-purpose. However, there are other application domains where CEP is equally viable but much more subtle.  I believe the EPTS can provide a vendor-neutral taxonomy of event processing - from the basics to the advanced. Explain why it's unique and different, why language is important and how it is synergistic with a host of other technologies. To this end, the group has decided to form two new working groups to focus on many of these areas. Clearly a forward thinking move.

The Event Processing Technical Society is an organization made of up both vendors and academics. We're held together by a common thread, a goal that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and our collective will benefit all even as many of us are undeniably competitors.

Once again thanks for reading,  you can also follow me at twitter, here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Good application development practices are critical for EP project success

Posted by Giles Nelson

Mike Gaultieri, a analyst at Forrester Research, takes application developers to task for not knowing what the business wants.

This has never been more the case than in the case of event processing. Without understanding the business events that are available to them and the needs of end-users, developers are not going to get anywhere. What do I mean by business event? It's simply an event containing some business orientated, rather than technically orientated, information - a stock tick, weather report, GPS coordinate etc. It can be pretty much anything, but it must have some business value and meaning to the business.

In addition, developers need to understand what the business wants to achieve - is it about simply maintaining an up-to-the-moment view on a goods ordering process, using appropriate charts and graphs to visualise the information, or is it about automating decisions - pricing a product dynamically or re-routing a vehicle based upon traffic conditions? Often, an end-user won't care about what technology is being used to deliver the information or make the decisions they want - and nor should they. As Mike Gaultieri correctly points out, a good user experience is everything; the technology itself is at best secondary or often irrelevant.

My advice to developers is to start small and focussed, get something done and prepared to iterate quickly. Try and define business requirements to begin with but be flexible about changing them (within reason). If developers don't do this, and work in a vacuum, success won't come.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Progress Apama High Frequency Trading Podcast

Posted by Apama Audio

In this podcast Dr. John Bates discusses high frequency trading and its relationship to algorithmic trading.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Brazil is Rocking at the BM&FBovespa Conference

Posted by Dan Hubscher

Apama made a big splash at the 4th International Financial and Capital Markets Conference, hosted by BM&FBovespa from Aug. 27th – 30th in Campos do Jordao, Brazil.  I attended after first spending a few days in São Paulo visiting customers and partners in their offices and on their trading floors.  These meetings afforded a view as to why Brazil is a hot market for Apama, and catching the buzz at the conference reinforced that view.

The conference was a global event.  Over 600 people from around the world attended; panel presentations featured speakers and topics from North and South America, Europe, and Asia.  The panel sessions were well attended, partly due to the pressing nature of and the high interest in the topics at hand.  Many panelists spoke about the current market crisis, now a year old.  However, the local context was the emergence of Brazil’s Capital Markets onto the world stage, and the integration of the BM&F and Bovespa since the last conference.  The new BM&FBovespa recently launched an aggressive strategy, introducing algorithmic trading this year. 

Algorithmic trading was a key topic of both panel presentations and audience questions.  Some spoke of its profitability, highlighting its effectiveness at exploiting market movements, the independence from fundamental analysis, and removal of human emotion from trading.  Others remarked specifically that both algorithmic and high frequency trading have significantly enhanced liquidity, and that the enhanced liquidity is good for derivatives markets.  Of course, all of the speakers echoed that proper regulation is essential, with specific regards to algorithmic trading, and on a larger scale as well.  Many recommended an approach that equips regulators with the tools to deal with problems as they arise, rather than attempt to prevent every imaginable problem through excessive regulations – especially in light of the lessons learned from the last year.

Exhibitor floor view from the Apama booth, opening night In the face of this rapid market change, the Brazilian Capital Markets community needs more than simple algorithms – it needs the tools to customize trading strategies to attract local and cross-border business, get ahead of the competition, and stay ahead.  My hosts for the week, the Progress Apama team members in Brazil, supply the Apama platform, consulting services, and local expertise to the market – and that set of local relationships is the key to success in this fast-growing market.  The result is tangible.  The exhibitor floor of the conference experienced high traffic during the breaks; and the Apama booth drew visitors from a prominent position in the middle of the throng.  The Apama demos were the main attraction, on display in our booth and in others’ nearby. 

The Apama customer count increased as well.  Banco Fator made news (Portuguese / English) with an Apama agreement during the conference, joining the user community of Ágora, Finabank, Alpes, and others.

For the icing on the cake, Progress Brazil’s Luis Gustavo Penteado won the mini marathon at the end of the conference.

As the old saying goes, “Be careful what you ask for; you just might get it.”  I got what I asked for much earlier than I had anticipated.  As for Brazil, it has embraced algorithmic trading and is asking for more.  Given the adoption rate of purpose-built tools and the appropriate regulatory oversight that seems to be falling into place, Latin America’s leading economy looks poised to enjoy the fruits of its labors for a long time to come.


P.S. - You can follow my future travels on Twitter, here.