Encyclopedia of Big Data Technologies

2019 Edition
| Editors: Sherif Sakr, Albert Y. Zomaya

Definition of Data Streams

  • Alessandro MargaraEmail author
  • Tilmann RablEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-77525-8_188



A data stream is a countably infinite sequence of elements. Different models of data streams exist that take different approaches with respect to the mutability of the stream and to the structure of stream elements. Stream processing refers to analyzing data streams on-the-fly to produce new results as new input data becomes available. Time is a central concept in stream processing: in almost all models of streams, each stream element is associated with one or more timestamps from a given time domain that might indicate, for instance, when the element was generated, the validity of its content, or when it became available for processing.


A data stream is a countably infinite sequence of elements and is used to represent data elements that are made available over time. Examples are readings from sensors in an environmental monitoring application, stock quotes in financial applications, or network data in computer...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Politecnico di MilanoMilanoItaly
  2. 2.Database Systems and Information Management GroupTechnische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany