Special Issue on Stream Processing, Call for Papers

Another call for papers: the Journal of Web Semantics invites submissions to a special issue on Stream Processing to be edited by Monika Solanki and Jean-Paul Calbimonte. Submissions are due by 1st July 2015.

(I am on the Programme Committee.)

Important Dates and Submission Guidelines

From the call:

[...] we expect submissions on (but not restricted to) the following topics.

Processing RDF Data Streams
    Producing and consuming streams of RDF graphs
    Modelling streams of structured data
    Theoretical modelling of RDF streams
    Automatic annotation of raw data streams
    Processing noisy data, uncertainty, incomplete information
    Semantic mining of RDF data streams
    Mechanisms for integrating historical data with streaming data
    Publishing Linked Stream Data
Querying semantic streams of data
    Extensions to SPARQL for data streams
    Complex event processing on semantic data
    Ontology-based data access to data streams
    Data dynamics, update, and synchronization
    Optimisation of stream query processing
    Correctness of stream query processing
    Synthetic RDF streams and benchmarking
Reasoning with data streams
    New stream reasoning algorithms
    Incremental reasoning on dynamic ontologies
    Temporal logics for reasoning over Semantic streams
    Multicore scalable stream reasoning
Applications of stream processing
    Semantic sensor networks
    Social network streams and microposts
    Stream processing in the Internet of Things
    Smart cities
    Activity streams

Streaming System Benchmarks

Streaming systems are complex; apart from correct functionality (which might differ between implementations and vendors) many non-functional aspects can be benchmarked such as memory comsumption, latency, and throughput. For RDF Stream Processing several benchmarks exist, shown as follows. From data stream management, older benchmarks exist which are not specific to RDF data but might be adapted. Some are listed below.

RDF Stream Benchmarks

Other Stream or CEP Benchmarks

  • BEAST 4
  • NEXMark 5
  • Linear Road 6
  • BiCEP 7 – a benchmarking framework
  • Fast Flower Delivery (FFD) 8 – a functional benchmarking scenario

  1. Zhang, Y.; Duc, P.; Corcho, O. & Calbimonte, J.-P. SRBench: A Streaming RDF/SPARQL Benchmark The Semantic Web –- ISWC 2012, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2012, 7649, 641-657 

  2. Dell’Aglio, D.; Calbimonte, J.-P.; Balduini, M.; Corcho, O. & Della Valle, E. On Correctness in RDF Stream Processor Benchmarking. The Semantic Web – ISWC 2013, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2013, 8219, 326-342 

  3. Le-Phuoc, D.; Dao-Tran, M.; Pham, M.-D.; Boncz, P.; Eiter, T. & Fink, M. Linked Stream Data Processing Engines: Facts and Figures. The Semantic Web – ISWC 2012, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2012, 7650, 300-312 

  4. Geppert, A.; Berndtsson, M.; Lieuwen, D. & Roncancio, C. Performance evaluation of object-oriented active database systems using the BEAST benchmark. Theor. Pract. Object Syst., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1998, 4, 135-149 

  5. Tucker, P.; Tufte, K.; Papadimos, V. & Maier, D. NEXMark – A benchmark for querying data streams. Oregon Health & Sciences University, 2002 

  6. Arasu, A.; Cherniack, M.; Galvez, E.; Maier, D.; Maskey, A. S.; Ryvkina, E.; Stonebraker, M. & Tibbetts, R. Linear road: a stream data management benchmark. VLDB ’04: Proceedings of the Thirtieth international conference on Very large data bases, VLDB Endowment, 2004, 480-491 

  7. Bizarro, P. BiCEP – Benchmarking Complex Event Processing Systems Event Processing, Internationales Begegnungs- und Forschungszentrum für Informatik (IBFI), Schloss Dagstuhl, Germany, 2007 

  8. Etzion, O. & Niblett, P. Event Processing in Action Manning Publications Co., 2010  


RDF Stream Processing Workshop at ESWC2015, Call for Papers

In conjunction with the 12th Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC 2015). May 31th, 2015 in Portoroz, Slovenia.

From the Call for Papers:

The goal of this workshop is to bring together interested members of the community to:

  • Demonstrate their latest advances in stream processing systems for RDF.
  • Foster discussion for agreeing on a core model and query language for RDF streams.
  • Involve and attract people from related research areas to actively participate in the RSP Community Group.

(I am on the Programme Committee.)

Another workshop was accepted, called DeRiVE which seems to focus more on applications of RDF events whereas RSP ist more technical focusing on streaming and processing real-time streams.


An RDF Model for Events

Why do we need an event model? Many RDF streaming systems discussed have little or no model for the real-time data they ingest. These systems make the lowest common assumptions about the structure of the data, i.e. that the data consist of a stream of RDF triples. Thus, each piece of real-time data (event) is one triple. One triple, however, cannot hold a lot of information. For example: flexibility in timstamping (one vs. two timestamps or application time vs. system time) is only possible if timstamps can be attached to event structure. Flat triples cannot do that. Another example is when typing data, the triple <myInstance> rdf:type <MyClass> can introduce a type, but the event (one triple) is "full". This means that any structure in the data must be inferred from more than one event. However, consumers cannot make assumptions about events which are not yet received: Events occur spontaneously and event consumers are often decoupled from the senders (cf. publish/subscribe systems). Therefore, structure is needed in individual events.

Events should be self-describing. A common understanding of data is crucial for consumers and producers 1, especially in a distributed and heterogeneous system such as the Web. Therefore, a consumer must find a way to understand received events which entails the need for a universal event model 1.


The figure shows the event model in a class diagram 2. The class "Event" at bottom left of the figure is the superclass for any event to conform to our model. This class makes use of related work by inheriting from the class "DUL:Event" from Dolce Ultralight based on DOLCE 3. That class provides a notion of time and helps distinguish events (things that happen) from facts (which are always valid).

Event Model

In accordance with our requirements 2 some properties are mandatory while the rest are optional. An instance of class Event MUST have (i) a type, (ii) at least one timestamp and (iii) a relevant stream. We describe the event properties in detail as follows.

The type of an event must be specified using rdf:type. The type must be the class Event or any subclass.

The event model supports interval-based events as well as point-based events by either using just the property :endTime for a point or both :startTime and :endTime for an interval. The property :endTime thus has a cardinality of [1..1] whereas :startTime has a cardinality of [0..1]. Both temporal properties are subproperties of DUL:hasEventDate from the super class. We improve the semantics by distinguishing start from end whereas the superclass has an alternative, more difficult way of formulating intervals using subobjects reifying the interval.

The property :stream associates an event with a stream. Streams are used in our system as a unit of organisation for events governing publish/subscribe and access control. Streams themselves are modelled using title, description and a topic needed for topic-based publish/subscribe.

The first optional property is :location. For for geo-referencing of events (where necessary) we re-use the basic geo vocabulary from the W3C 4. The property may be used to locate events in physical locations on the globe. The property is subproperty of DUL:hasLocation and geo:location to inherit the semantics from those schemas.

Inter-event relationships may be supported by linking a complex event to the simple events which caused it. Thus, RDF Lists may be used in :members to maintain an ordered and complete account of member events. The linked events are identified by their URI. These linked events could have further member events themselves. This facilitates modelling of composite events 5. The :members property is a subproperty of DUL:hasConstituent from the superclass.

The property :eventPattern may be used to link a complex event to the pattern which caused the event to be detected. Direct links to event patterns may be provided by RESTful services. Using such links can help in recording provenance of derived events.

The source of an event may be specified using the :source property. This is an optional property to record the creator of an event where needed. The property is a subproperty of DUL:involvesAgent. Agents may be human or non-human.

A human readable synopsis of an event may be added using the :message property. This proves useful in scenarios where events are received by human end users. The :message property is a subproperty of dc:title, a popular way of describing things using natural language. Multilingualism is provided by the feature of language tags for string literals in RDF 6.

N-ary predicates 7 may be used to maintain event properties which are valid only for a specific event, e.g. a volatile sensor reading such as the temperature measurement belonging to a specific event. For example, instead of plainly stating the disputable fact that "the city of Nice has a temperature in Celsius of 23 degrees" which looks like this:

dbpedia:Nice :curTemp "23" .

We can instead state that the city of Nice has said temperature but qualified by the conjunction with a given event "e2" in the following n-ary predicate:

dbpedia:Nice :curTemp [
    rdf:value "23" ;
    :event  <>
] .

Endowment of further structure for events is left to domain-specific schemas. For example the W3C Semantic Sensor Network (SSN) Ontology may be added if fine-grained modelling of sensors and pertaining sensor readings is needed.


The listing below shows several facts about our event model along an example. The listing uses the example of a Facebook event generated by our event adapter described in 2.

@prefix :       <> .
@prefix e:      <> .
@prefix user:   <> .
@prefix xsd:    <> .

e:5534987067802526 {
        a :FacebookStatusFeedEvent ;
        :endTime "2012-03-28T06:04:26.522Z"^^xsd:dateTime ;
        :status "I bought some JEANS this morning" ;
        :stream <> ;
        user:id "100000058455726" ;
        user:link <> ;
        user:location "Karlsruhe, Germany" ;
        user:name "Roland Stühmer" .
  1. The example shows an event using quadruples in TriG syntax 8. The graph name (a.k.a context) before the curly braces is used as a unique identifier, e.g. to enable efficient indexing of contiguous triples in the storage backend for historic events.
  2. The event in this example has the ID 5534987067802526 as part of its URI. There is a distinction made between URIs for things and URIs for their information resources, i.e. the event object 5534987067802526#event and the Web document 5534987067802526 describing the event. The two URIs might carry, e.g. a different creation date, which is why it can be important to separate them. The fragment identifier #event is used to differentiate them. See 9 for an in-depth discussion of the matter of disambiguation (also known as the httpRange-14 issue).
  3. There is an event type hierarchy from which the type Facebook-StatusFeedEvent is inherited. This hierarchy can be extended by any user by referencing the RDF type :Event as a super class.
  4. The event may link to entities from static Linked Data where further context for the event can be retrieved. In this example the event uses user:link where further context for the event can be retrieved, in this case from the Facebook Graph API. Facebook started publishing Linked Data as RDF 10.
  5. The event links to a stream which is a URI where current events can be obtained in real-time by dereferencing the link.
  6. The namespace is chosen as a generic home for this schema.


We are re-using and creating domain vocabularies to subclass the class Event. For example in the Facebook case we use the schema from the RDF/Turtle API provided by Facebook 10.

We developed this event model to satisfy requirements of an open platform where data from the Web can be re-used and which is extensible for open participation. Future updates to the event schema can be tracked on-line at 11.

  1. Rozsnyai, S.; Schiefer, J. & Schatten, A. Concepts and models for typing events for event-based systems Proceedings of the 1st ACM International Conference on Distributed Event-Based Systems, ACM, 2007, 62-70 

  2. Stühmer, R. Web-oriented Event Processing Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT Scientific Publishing, Karlsruhe, 2014 

  3. Gangemi, A.; Guarino, N.; Masolo, C.; Oltramari, A. & Schneider, L. Sweetening Ontologies with DOLCE Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management. Ontologies and the Semantic Web, Springer-Verlag, 2002, 166-181 

  4. Brickley, D. Basic Geo (WGS84 lat/long) Vocabulary, 2003 

  5. Luckham, D. C. & Schulte, R. Event Processing Glossary – Version 2.0, 2011 

  6. Klyne, G. & Carroll, J. J. Resource Description Framework (RDF): Concepts and Abstract Syntax 2004 

  7. Noy, N. & Rector, A. Defining N-ary Relations on the Semantic Web World Wide Web Consortium, 2006 

  8. Bizer, C. & Cyganiak, R. RDF 1.1 TriG, 2014 

  9. Berners-Lee, T. What HTTP URIs Identify? — Design Issues, 2005 

  10. Weaver, J. & Tarjan, P. Facebook Linked Data via the Graph API Semantic Web Journal, IOS Press, 2012 

  11. Harth, A. & Stühmer, R. Publishing Event Streams as Linked Data Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik, 2011 


Immutability and Event Derivation in RDF

"In many event processing systems […] events are immutable"1. This stems from the definition of what an event is: "An event is an occurrence within a particular system or domain; it is something that has happened, or is contemplated as having happened […]"2. So events cannot be made to unhappen.

Open Question: Does this apply to all systems/applications/usecases or just to "many" as stated above?

I made immutability a general assumption in my work3. It is very useful for building systems (distributed systems, consistency, …).

Q: How can a Stream processing agent process events if they are immutable?

A: Every processing task produces new derived events as results. Advantage: the underived events are still available for other uses and remain immutable.

For <abbr title="RDF Stream Processing">RSP this means: (1) create a new (unique) graph for the derived event (2) possibly link back to the base event(s) thus enabling drill-down or root cause / provenance analysis of the derived event. The links can be made with DUL:hasConstituent from DOLCE Ultralight4. In my own work5 I use a new :members property to link from a derived event to its simple events. The property is a subproperty of the mentioned DUL:hasConstituent.

Observation: We talk about adding "received time" and other metadata later by receiving agents: Adding triples later to the event graph with graphname as subject can still be legal and considered as amending the event header. Much like with email: headers can be added by intermediate mail servers but the mail body and ID are immutable.


Stream Punctuation and RDF Stream Processing

Definition by Tucker et al.1 and Maier et al.2:

”A punctuation is a pattern p inserted into the data stream with the meaning that no data item i matching p will occur further on in the stream.”

For event processing systems, events are the fundamental unit of information3. This means each event is processed atomically, i.e. completely or not at all. For RDF stream processing systems this can cause problems if events are modelled as graphs consisting of multiple quadruples: How can a receiver of an event know that all quadruples pertaining to the event are transmitted in order to start processing the event?

For streams of RDF graphs punctuation can be used like this: A punctuation is a pattern ”p” inserted into the quadruple stream with the meaning that no quadruples i from graph p will occur further on in the stream.

Punctuation could be implemented using special ("magic") quadruples but when using the Web stack(!) we can do punctuation out-of-band, i.e. implement punctuation on a lower layer of the stack. For example, we can communicate through ”chunked transfer encoding” (Fielding et al. 1999, Section 3.6.1)4 from HTTP 1.1. Each chunk contains a complete graph and the receiver will know that after a chunk is received the event is completely received and can be processed further in an atomic fashion. There is a guarantee that no quads for this graph will arrive later. Using HTTP chunked connections no special (or magic) quads are needed.

”Chunked transfer encoding” is also used by the RDF publish/subscribe middleware Ztreamy5 to provide long-lived connections using pure HTTP with the goal of disseminating events to subscribers. Further related work6 investigates the exchange of RDF over different protocols such as XMPP on top of HTTP (and thus TCP) but even UDP. However, none of these protocols provides pure HTTP stream URIs which are easily referenced in Linked Data.

  1. Tucker, P.; Maier, D.; Sheard, T. & Fegaras, L. Exploiting punctuation semantics in continuous data streams Knowledge and Data Engineering, IEEE Transactions on, 2003, 15, 555-568 [
  2. Maier, D.; Li, J.; Tucker, P.; Tufte, K. & Papadimos, V. Semantics of Data Streams and Operators Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Database Theory, Springer-Verlag, 2005, 37-52 [
  3. Gupta, A. & Jain, R. Managing Event Information: Modeling, Retrieval, and Applications Managing Event Information, Morgan & Claypool Publishers, 2011 
  4. Fielding, R.; Gettys, J.; Mogul, J.; Frystyk, H.; Masinter, L.; Leach, P. & Berners-Lee, T. Hypertext Transfer Protocol — HTTP/1.1 RFC Editor, 1999 [
  5. Fisteus, J. A.; García, N. F.; Fernández, L. S. & Fuentes-Lorenzo, D. (2014), ‘Ztreamy: A middleware for publishing semantic streams on the Web ‘, Web Semantics: Science, Services and Agents on the World Wide Web 25(0), 16 – 23. 
  6. Shinavier, J. Optimizing real-time RDF data streams CoRR, 2010, abs/1011.3595 [