International Symposium on
Processing XML Efficiently:
Overcoming Limits on Space, Time, or Bandwidth
Monday August 10, 2009
Hotel Europa, Montréal, Canada
Chair: Michael Kay, Saxonica
Developers have said it: “XML is too slow!”, where “slow” can mean many
things including elapsed time, throughput, latency, memory use, and
bandwidth consumption. The aim of this one-day symposium is to understand
these problems better and to explore and share approaches to solving them.
XML has become so ubiquitous that people are trying to apply it in some very
hostile environments. From small mobile and embedded devices to web servers
and financial messaging gateways delivering thousands of transactions a
second, from terabyte-sized (or infinite) documents to databases that
contain zillions of tiny documents, people expect XML to sit quietly in the
background and not make a nuisance of itself. Yet some of the current
technologies don’t scale particularly well: XSLT and XQuery, for example,
can quickly run out of memory as document sizes increase, while the costs of
getting XML in and out of databases can bring a system to a halt.
During this symposium, we’ll hear about attempts to tackle the problem at
many different levels of the processing stack.
Some developers are addressing the XML parsing bottleneck at the hardware
level with custom chips or with hardware-assisted techniques such as
parallel bitstream processing. Some researchers are looking for ways to
compress XML efficiently without sacrificing the ability to perform queries,
while others are focusing on the ability to perform queries and
transformations in streaming mode. We’ll also hear from a group who believe
the problem (and its solution) lies not with the individual component
technologies that make up an application, but with the integration
technology that binds the components together.
We’ll also hear from someone who has solved the problems in real life,
demonstrating that it is possible to build XML-based applications handling
very large numbers of documents and a high throughput of queries while
offering good response time to users. And that with today’s technologies,
Can performance benefits be achieved without sacrificing XML’s hallmark
attractions: validation, flexibility, high level declarative programming? In
the best Balisage tradition, our aim is to bring together theory and
practice: researchers, product engineers, academics, developers, and users.
We all have a lot to learn from each other, and this Symposium offers a
unique opportunity to introduce people who think they know some problems to
people who think they know some answers, and vice versa.
We want the symposium to be as interactive as possible, so we’re leaving
plenty of time for discussion after each talk. But more than that, we’ve
also scheduled an Open Forum session in which everyone with something to say
is invited to take the floor for five minutes: three minutes to pitch your
ideas, two minutes to deal with questions. Just buttonhole the chair during
the day to book your slot (or even better, email in advance). We’ll do our
best to fit everyone in, though we can’t guarantee it. No restrictions on
content, so long as it’s relevant to the theme of the day, but be aware that
it you try to sell anything, you might get heckled. You’re also welcome to
lodge questions that you would like the day’s speakers to answer -
especially if you heard contradictory messages during the day, now is the
time to highlight the issues. There’ll be a whiteboard for you to register
your questions as they occur to you.
There is nothing so practical as a good theory