Assigning ontological meaning to workflow nets

Pnina Soffer, Maya Kaner, Yair Wand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 not 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, 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-35
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Database Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Business process models
  • Business processes
  • Ontological semantics
  • Rules
  • Workflow-net (WF-net)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture


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  • Assigning ontology-based semantics to process models: The case of Petri Nets

    Soffer, P., Kaner, M. & Wand, Y., 2008, Advanced Information Systems Engineering - 20th International Conference, CAiSE 2008, Proceedings. p. 16-31 16 p. (Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics); vol. 5074 LNCS).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

    Open Access

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