Describing Behavior of Processes with Many-to-Many Interactions

  • Dirk FahlandEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11522)


Processes are a key application area for formal models of concurrency. The core concepts of Petri nets have been adopted in research and industrial practice to describe and analyze the behavior of processes where each instance is executed in isolation. Unaddressed challenges arise when instances of processes may interact with each other in a one-to-many or many-to-many fashion. So far, behavioral models for describing such behavior either also include an explicit data model of the processes to describe many-to-many interactions, or cannot provide precise operational semantics.

In this paper, we study the problem in detail through a fundamental example and evolve a few existing concepts from net theory towards many-to-many interactions. Specifically, we show that three concepts are required to provide an operational, true concurrency semantics to describe the behavior of processes with many-to-many interactions: unbounded dynamic synchronization of transitions, cardinality constraints limiting the size of the synchronization, and history-based correlation of token identities. The resulting formal model is orthogonal to all existing data modeling techniques, and thus allows to study the behavior of such processes in isolation, and to combine the model with existing and future data modeling techniques.


Multi-instance processes Many-to-many interactions Modeling True-concurrency semantics Petri nets 


  1. 1.
    van der Aalst, W.M.P.: The application of petri nets to workflow management. J. Circ. Syst. Comput. 8(1), 21–66 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    van der Aalst, W.M.P., Artale, A., Montali, M., Tritini, S.: Object-centric behavioral constraints: integrating data and declarative process modelling. In: Proceedings of the 30th International Workshop on Description Logics, Montpellier. CEUR Workshop Proceedings, vol. 1879. (2017)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    van der Aalst, W.M.P., Barthelmess, P., Ellis, C.A., Wainer, J.: Proclets: a framework for lightweight interacting workflow processes. Int. J. Cooperative Inf. Syst. 10(4), 443–481 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    van der Aalst, W.M.P., Mans, R.S., Russell, N.C.: Workflow support using proclets: divide, interact, and conquer. IEEE Data Eng. Bull. 32(3), 16–22 (2009)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Calvanese, D., Montali, M., Estañol, M., Teniente, E.: Verifiable UML artifact-centric business process models. In: CIKM 2014, pp. 1289–1298. ACM (2014)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cohn, D., Hull, R.: Business artifacts: a data-centric approach to modeling business operations and processes. IEEE Data Eng. Bull. 32(3), 3–9 (2009)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Damaggio, E., Deutsch, A., Hull, R., Vianu, V.: Automatic verification of data-centric business processes. In: Rinderle-Ma, S., Toumani, F., Wolf, K. (eds.) BPM 2011. LNCS, vol. 6896, pp. 3–16. Springer, Heidelberg (2011). Scholar
  8. 8.
    Desel, J., Erwin, T.: Hybrid specifications: looking at workflows from a run-time perspective. Comput. Syst. Sci. Eng. 15(5), 291–302 (2000)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Engelfriet, J.: Branching processes of petri nets. Acta Inf. 28(6), 575–591 (1991)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Fahland, D., de Leoni, M., van Dongen, B.F., van der Aalst, W.M.: Many-to-many: some observations on interactions in artifact choreographies. In: Eichhorn, D., Koschmider, A., Zhang, H. (eds.) ZEUS 2011. CEUR Workshop Proceedings, vol. 705, pp. 9–15. (2011)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    van Hee, K.M., Sidorova, N., Voorhoeve, M., van der Werf, J.M.E.M.: Generation of database transactions with petri nets. Fundam. Inform. 93(1–3), 171–184 (2009)MathSciNetzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Li, G., de Carvalho, R.M., van der Aalst, W.M.P.: Automatic discovery of object-centric behavioral constraint models. In: Abramowicz, W. (ed.) BIS 2017. LNBIP, vol. 288, pp. 43–58. Springer, Cham (2017). Scholar
  13. 13.
    Lohmann, N.: Compliance by design for artifact-centric business processes. Inf. Syst. 38(4), 606–618 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Lohmann, N., Massuthe, P., Wolf, K.: Operating guidelines for finite-state services. In: Kleijn, J., Yakovlev, A. (eds.) ICATPN 2007. LNCS, vol. 4546, pp. 321–341. Springer, Heidelberg (2007). Scholar
  15. 15.
    Lohmann, N., Wolf, K.: Artifact-centric choreographies. In: Maglio, P.P., Weske, M., Yang, J., Fantinato, M. (eds.) ICSOC 2010. LNCS, vol. 6470, pp. 32–46. Springer, Heidelberg (2010). Scholar
  16. 16.
    Meyer, A., Pufahl, L., Batoulis, K., Fahland, D., Weske, M.: Automating data exchange in process choreographies. Inf. Syst. 53, 296–329 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Montali, M., Calvanese, D.: Soundness of data-aware, case-centric processes. STTT 18(5), 535–558 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Montali, M., Rivkin, A.: Model checking petri nets with names using data-centric dynamic systems. Formal Asp. Comput. 28(4), 615–641 (2016)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Montali, M., Rivkin, A.: DB-Nets: on the marriage of colored petri nets and relational databases. In: Koutny, M., Kleijn, J., Penczek, W. (eds.) Transactions on Petri Nets and Other Models of Concurrency XII. LNCS, vol. 10470, pp. 91–118. Springer, Heidelberg (2017). Scholar
  20. 20.
    OASIS: Web Services Business Process Execution Language, Version 2.0, April 2007.
  21. 21.
    OMG: Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN), Version 2.0, January 2011.
  22. 22.
    Reijers, H.A., et al.: Evaluating data-centric process approaches: does the human factor factor in? Softw. Syst. Model. 16(3), 649–662 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Reisig, W.: Understanding Petri Nets - Modeling Techniques, Analysis Methods, Case Studies. Springer, Heidelberg (2013). Scholar
  24. 24.
    Rosa-Velardo, F., Alonso, O.M., de Frutos-Escrig, D.: Mobile synchronizing petri nets: a choreographic approach for coordination in ubiquitous systems. Electr. Notes Theor. Comput. Sci. 150(1), 103–126 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Rosa-Velardo, F., de Frutos-Escrig, D.: Name creation vs. replication in petri net systems. Fundam. Inform. 88(3), 329–356 (2008)MathSciNetzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Steinau, S., Andrews, K., Reichert, M.: Modeling process interactions with coordination processes. In: Panetto, H., Debruyne, C., Proper, H., Ardagna, C., Roman, D., Meersman, R. (eds.) OTM 2018, Part I. LNCS, vol. 11229. Springer, Cham (2018)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Steinau, S., Andrews, K., Reichert, M.: The relational process structure. In: Krogstie, J., Reijers, H.A. (eds.) CAiSE 2018. LNCS, vol. 10816, pp. 53–67. Springer, Cham (2018). Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations