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A large number of distributed applications requires continuous and timely processing of information as it flows from the periphery to the center of the system. Examples are intrusion detection systems, which analyze network traffic in real-time to identify possible attacks; environmental monitoring applications, which process raw data coming from sensor networks to identify critical situations; or applications performing on-line analysis of stock prices to identify trends and forecast future values. Traditional DBMSs, which need to store and index data before processing it, can hardly fulfill the requirements of timeliness coming from such domains. Accordingly, during the last decade different research communities developed a number of tools, which the authors collectively call Information Flow Processing (IFP) Systems, to support these scenarios.
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