Conceptually, a data stream is a sequence of data items that collectively describe one or more underlying signals. For instance, a network traffic stream describes the type and volume of data transmitted among nodes in the network; one possible signal is a mapping between pairs of source and destination IP addresses to the number of bytes transmitted from the given source to the given destination. A stream model explains how to reconstruct the underlying signals from individual stream items. Thus, understanding the model is a prerequisite for stream processing and stream mining. In particular, the computational complexity of a data stream problem often depends on the complexity of the model that describes the input.
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