Acta Informatica

, Volume 34, Issue 7, pp 491–541 | Cite as

A survey of stream processing

  • Robert Stephens


Stream processing is a term that is used widely in the literature to describe a variety of systems. We present an overview of the historical development of stream processing and a detailed discussion of the different languages and techniques for programming with streams that can be found in the literature. This includes an analysis of dataflow, specialized  functional and logic programming with streams, reactive systems, signal processing systems, and the use of streams in the design and verification of hardware.

The aim of this survey is an analysis of the development of each of these specialized topics to determine if a general theory of stream processing has emerged. As such, we discuss and classify the different classes of stream processing systems found in the literature from the perspective of programming primitives, implementation techniques, and computability issues, including a comparison of the semantic models that are used to formalize stream based computation.


Signal Processing General Theory Reactive System Historical Development Specialized Topic 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Stephens
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Systems Research Group, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 5XH, UK (e-mail:

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