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Modeling Dynamic Architectures Using Nets-Within-Nets.

Cabac, Lawrence; Duvigneau, Michael; Moldt, Daniel; Rölke, Heiko

In: Gianfranco Ciardo, Philippe Darondeau (Eds.): Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 3536: Applications and Theory of Petri Nets 2005: 26th International Conference, ICATPN 2005, Miami, USA, June 20-25, 2005., pages 148-167. Springer Verlag, June 2005.

Abstract: Current modeling techniques are not well equipped to design dynamic software architectures. In this work we present the basic concepts for a dynamic architecture modeling using nets-within-nets. Nets-within-nets represent a powerful formalism that allows active elements, i.e. nets, to be nested in arbitrary and dynamically changeable hierarchies. Applying the concepts from nets-within-nets, therefore, allows us to model complex dynamic system architectures in a simple way, which enables us to design the system at different levels of abstractions using refinements of net models. Additionally to the conceptual modeling of such architecture, we provide a practical example where the concept has been successfully applied in the development of the latest release of Renew (Version 2 of the multi-formalism Petri net IDE). The overall monolithic architecture has been exchanged with a system that is divided into a plug-in management system and plug-in's that provide functionality for the users. By combining plug-ins the system can be adapted to the users' needs. Through the introduction of the Petri net concepts, the new architecture is now -- at runtime -- dynamically extensible by registering plug-ins with the management system. The introduced architecture is applicable for any kind of architecture but most suitable for applications with dynamic structure.

Keywords: High-level Petri nets; Nets-within-nets; reference nets; Renew; plug-ins; components; dynamic software architecture; modeling.

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