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The application of Petri nets to workflow management.

van der Aalst, W.M.P.

In: Journal of Circuits, Systems and Computers, Vol. 8, No. 1, pages 21-66. 1998.

Abstract: Workflow management promises a new solution of an age-old problem: controlling, monitoring, optimizing, and supporting business processes. What is new about workflow management is the explicit representation of of the business process logic which allows for computerized support. This paper discusses the use of Petri nets in the context of workflow management. Petri nets are an established tool for modeling and analyzing processes. On the one hand, Petri nets can be used as a design language for the specification of complex workflows. On the other hand, Petri net theory provides for powerful analysis techniques which can be used to verify the correctness of workflow procedures. This paper introduces workflow management as an application domain for Petri nets, presents state-of-the-arts results with respect to the verification of workflows, and highlights some Petri net based workflow tools.

Keywords: Petri nets, business processes, software tools, workflow management.

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