In the modern world, two powerful forces are at absolute odds: system complexity is increasing while budgets are tightening. It seems clear that, in order to manage this state of affairs, we must look for new and different ways to do things rather than just making incremental improvements on the old ways. Data-centric middleware provides that opportunity by enabling a fundamental step forward in efficiency for designing, developing, and deploying next generation, distributed mission-critical systems.

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Today's embedded software applications are increasingly distributed; they communicate data between many computing nodes in a networked system. Several network middleware designs have arisen to meet the resulting communications need, including client-server, message passing, and publish-subscribe architectures.

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The Rise of Data-Centric Programming The network is profoundly changing the nature of system design. The "web" is just a first step; the Internet today focuses on connecting people at human interaction speeds. Future networks will connect vast arrays of cooperating machines at rates meaningful to physical processes. These connections make truly distributed applications possible. Distributed applications will drive the future in many areas, from military information systems to financial trading to transportation.

Truly profound technologies become part of everyday life. Motors, plastics, computers, and now networking have made this transition in the last 100 years. These technologies are embedded in billions of devices; they have melted into the assumed background of the modern world.

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