Assigning Ontological Meaning to Workflow Nets

  • Authors:
  • Maya Kaner;Yair Wand;Pnina Soffer

  • Affiliations:
  • Ort Braude College, Israel;University of British Columbia, Canada;University of Haifa, Israel

  • Venue:
  • Journal of Database Management
  • Year:
  • 2010

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A common way to represent organizational domains is the use of business process models. A Workflow-net WF-net is an application of Petri Nets with additional rules that model business process behavior. However, the use of WF-nets to model business processes has some shortcomings. In particular, no rules exist beyond the general constraints of WF-nets to guide the mapping of an actual process into a net. Syntactically correct WF-nets may provide meaningful models of how organizations conduct their business processes. Moreover, the processes represented by these nets may not be feasible to execute or reach their business goals when executed. In this paper, the authors propose a set of rules for mapping the domain in which a process operates into a WF-net, which they derived by attaching ontological semantics to WF-nets. The rules guide the construction of WF-nets, which are meaningful in that their nodes and transitions are directly related to the modeled business domains. Furthermore, the proposed semantics imposes on the process models constraints that guide the development of valid process models, namely, models that assure that the process can accomplish its goal when executed.