Towards Flexible and High-Level Modeling and Enacting of Processes

  • Gregor Joeris
  • Otthein Herzog
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1626)


Process modeling and enacting concepts are at the center of workflow management. Support for heterogeneous processes, flexibility, reuse, and distribution are great challenges for the design of the next generation process modeling languages and their enactment mechanisms. Furthermore, flexible and collaborative processes depend also on unpredictable changes and hence require human intervention. Therefore, high-level process modeling constructs are needed which allow for an easy, adequate, and participatory design of workflows. We present a process modeling language which covers these requirements and is based on object-oriented modeling and enacting techniques. In particular, we outline how tasks and task nets are specified at a high level of abstraction, how flexible and user-adaptable control and data flow specifications are supported, and how reuse of workflow models can be improved. The approach is characterized by the uniform and integrated modeling of workflow schema and instance elements as objects and by the integration of flexible rule-based techniques with the high-level constructs of task graphs. Finally, we present our object-oriented approach for the distributed enactment of workflow models: A workflow is directly enacted by task agents which may be treated as reactive components, which interact by message passing, and whose execution behavior is derived from the context-free and context-dependent behavior of the tasks defined in the workflow schema.


Task Graph Task Component Task Instance Task Agent Task Definition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Attie, P.C.; Singh, M.P.; Sheth, A.; Rusinkiewicz, M.: “Specifying and Enforcing Intertask Dependencies”, in Proc. of the 19 th Int. Conf. on Very Large Databases (VLDB’93), Dublin, Ireland, 1993.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Belkhatir, N.; Estublier, J.; Melo, W.L: “Adele 2: a Support to Large Software Development Process”, in Dowson, M. (ed.): Proc. of the 1 st Int. Conf. on the Software Process, IEEE Computer Society Press, 1991; pages 159–170.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Casati, F.; Ceri, S.; Pernici, B.; Pozzi, G.: “Deriving Active Rules for Workflow Enactment”, in Wagner, R.R.; Thoma, C.H. (eds.) Proc. of 7 th Intl. Conf. on Database and Expert System Applications (DEXA’96), Zurich, Swiss, Sept. 1996, Springer, LNCS, pp. 94–115.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Conradi, R.; Fernström, C.; Fugetta, A.: “A Conceptual Framework for Evolving Software Processes”, ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes, Vol. 18,No. 4, 1993; pp. 26–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Das, S.; Kochut, K.; Miller, J.; Sheth, A.; Worah, D.: “ORBWork: A Reliable Distributed CORBA-based Workflow Enactment System for METEOR_2”, Technical Report UGACS-TR-97-001, Department of Computer Science, University of Georgia, Feb. 1997.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dami, S.; Estublier, J.; Amiour, M.; “APEL: a Graphical Yet Executable Formalism for Process Modeling”, in Di Nitto, E.; Fuggetta, A. (eds.) Process Technology, Special Issue of the International Journal on Automated Software Engineering, 5(1), 1998; pp. 61–96.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Eder, J.; Groiss, H.: “A Workflow-Management-System based on Active Databases” (in german), Vosser, G.; Becker, J. (eds.) Geschäftsprozeβmodellierung und Workflow-Management: Modelle, Methoden, Werkzeuge, Int. Thomson Publishing, 1996.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ellis, C.A.; Nutt, G.J.: “Workflow: The Process Spectrum”, in NSF Workshop on Workflow and Process Automation in Information Systems, Athens, Georgia, 1996.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Estublier, J.; Dami, S.: “About Reuse in Multi-paradigm Process Modelling Approach”, in Proc. of the 10 th Intl. Software Process Workshop (ISPW’96), Dijon, France, 1996.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Genesereth, M.R.; Ketchpel, S.P.: “Software Agents”, in Communications of the ACM, 37(7), 1994; pp. 48–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Georgakopoulos, D.; Hornick, M.; Shet, A.: “An Overview of Workflow Management: From Process Modeling to Workflow Automation Infrastructure”. Distributed and Parallel Databases, 3(2), 1995; pp. 119–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Harel, D.; Gery, E.: “Executable Object Modeling with Statecharts”, in Proc. of the 18 th Int. Conf. on Software Engineering, Berlin, Germany, 1996; pp. 246–257.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Heimann, P.; Joeris, G.; Krapp, C.-A.; Westfechtel, B.: “DYNAMITE: Dynamic Task Nets for Software Process Management”, in Proc. of the 18 th Int. Conf. on Software Engineering, Berlin, Germany, 1996; pp. 331–341.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Jablonski, St.; Bussler, Ch.: “Workflow Management — Modeling Concepts, Architecture and Implementation”, International Thomson Computer Press, London, 1996.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Joeris, G.: “Cooperative and Integrated Workflow and Document Management for Engineering Applications”, in Proc. of the 8 th Int. Workshop on Database and Expert System Applications, Workshop on Workflow Management in Scientific and Engineering Applications, Toulouse, France, 1997; pp. 68–73.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Joeris, G.: “Change Management Needs Integrated Process and Configuration Management”, in Jazayeri, M; Schauer, H (eds.), Software Engineering — ESEC/FSE’97, Proceedings, LNCS 1301, Springer, 1997; pp. 125–141.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Joeris, G; Herzog, O.: “Managing Evolving Workflow Specifications”, in Proc. of the 3 rd Int. IFCIS Conf. on Cooperative Information Systems (CoopIS’98), New York, Aug. 1998; pp. 310–319.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kappel, G.; Pröll, B.; Rausch-Schott, S.; Retschitzegger, W.: “TriGSflow — Active Object-Oriented Workflow Management”, in Proc. of the 28 th Hawaii Intl. Conf. On System Sciences (HICSS’95), Jan. 1995; pp. 727–736.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kappel, G.; Rausch-Schott, S.; Retschitzegger, W.; Sakkinen, M.: “From Rules to Rule Patterns”, in Constantopoulos, P.; Mylopolous, J.; Vassiliou, Y. (eds.) Proc. of the 8 th Intl. Conf. on Advanced Information System Engineering (CAiSe’96), Springer, LNCS 1080, 1996; pp. 99–115.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    M.I. Kellner: “Multiple-Paradigm Approaches for Software Process Modeling”, in Thomas, I. (eds.) Proc. of the 7th Intl. Software Process Workshop — ‘Communication and Coordination in the Software Process’. Yountville, CA, USA, Okt. 1991, IEEE Computer Society Press; pp. 82–85.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Krishnakumar, N.; Sheth, A.: “Managing Hetereogeneous Multi-system Tasks to Support Enterprise-wide Operations”, in Distributed and Parallel Databases, 3, 1995; pp. 1–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Leymann, F.; Altenhuber, W.: “Managing business processes as an information resource”, IBM Systems Journal, Vol. 33,No. 2, 1994; pp. 326–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Puustjärvi, J.; Tirri, H.; Veijalainen, J.: “Reusability and Modularity in Transactional Workflows”, in Information Systems, 22(2/3), 1997; pp. 101–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Reichert, M; Dadam, P.: “ADEPTflex — Supporting Dynamic Changes of Workflows Without Losing Control”, Journal of Intelligent Information Systems — Special Issue on Workflow Managament, 10(2), Kluwer Academic Publishers, March 1998; pp. 93–129.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Sutton Jr., S.M.; Osterweil, L.J.: “The Design of a Next-Generation Process Language”, in Jazayeri, M; Schauer, H (eds.), Software Engineering — ESEC/FSE’97, Proceedings, LNCS 1301, Springer, 1997; pp. 142–158.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Tombros, D.; Geppert, A; Dittrich, K.R.: “Semantics of Reactive Components in Event-Driven Workflow Execution”, in Proc. of the 9 th Intl. Conf. on Advanced Information System Engineering (CAiSe’97), Springer, LNCS 1250, 1997; pp. 409–420.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Weske, M: “State-based Modeling of Flexible Workflow Executions in Distributed Environments”, in Ozsu, T.; Dogac, A.; Ulusoy, O. (eds.) Proc. of the 3 rd Biennial World Conference on Integrated Design and Process Technology (IDPT’98), Volume 2 — Issues and Applications of Database Technology, 1998; pp. 94–101.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Wooldridge, M.; Jenings, N.: “Intelligent Agents: Theory and Practice”, in Knowledge Engineering Review, 10(2), 1995; pp. 115–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Zukunft, O.; Rump F.: “From Business Process Modeling to Workflow Management: An Integrated Approach”, in Scholz-Reiter B.; Stickel E. (eds.) Business Process Modeling, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1996.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregor Joeris
    • 1
  • Otthein Herzog
    • 1
  1. 1.Intelligent Systems Department, Center for Computing TechnologiesUniversity of BremenBremen

Personalised recommendations