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workflow architecture [3], i.e. each individual organization owns its private business
workflow and can operate independently. To accomplish certain business missions,
these loosely-coupled organizations need to corporate or interact with each other at
certain points. In this way, synchronization or interaction between different organiza-
tions commonly exists. Generally speaking, there are two kinds of interaction mechan-
isms: asynchronous interaction patterns and synchronous interaction patterns. The
asynchronous interaction patterns consisting of the message interaction pattern and
resource interaction pattern while the synchronous interaction pattern specific refers to
task synchronization pattern, i.e. different organizations collaborate in some specific
tasks at the same time. For more detailed explanations on these four different interac-
tion patterns, please see [4]-[5]. To analyze and control the whole cross-organizational
workflow is an extremely difficult task as different organizations and interaction pat-
terns are involved. Fortunately, the behavior description of a cross-organization
workflow provides an effective solution for its analysis and control. In this paper, we
mainly address the methodology to character the behavior of cross-organization
workflow with synchronous interaction pattern.
As Petri nets are a type of well-founded process modeling technique and they have
been widely used to model, analyze, control and verify workflows [6]-[9], we lay our
research on the basis of Petri net theory [10]-[12]. There are at least three main rea-
sons for using them to model and analyze workflows [9]: (1) Graphical nature and
formal semantics; (2) the explicit model of a case state; and (3) the availability of
many analysis techniques. As Petri net language is a set sequence of firings of transi-
tions for describing the Petri net behavior. Therefore, we investigate the behavior
description of cross-organizational workflow model using Petri net language theory.
More specifically, we investigate the behavior descriptions of cross-organizational
workflow with task synchronization pattern using the synchronized shuffle operation
of Petri net language.
The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. Section 2 discusses the related
work. Section 3 introduces basic concept of Petri net and WF-net. In Section 4, CWF-
net is proposed to model the cross-organization workflow model with task synchroni-
zation pattern. Section 5 introduces behavior descriptions of CWF-net based on the
synchronized shuffle operation of Petri net language. Finally, Section 6 draws con-
cluding remarks.
Related Work
Aalst considered that workflows distributed over a number of organizations. Two
important questions were well addressed in his work [1]-[3]: (1) the minimal require-
ments of inter- organizational workflow, and (2) how to decide whether an inter-
organizational workflow, modeled with Petri nets, is consistent with an interaction
structure specified through a message sequence. In [16], Schulz and Orlowska fo-
cused on three aspects to support the execution of cross-organizational workflows that
have been modeled with a process view approach: (1) communication between
the entities, (2) their impact on an extended workflow engine, and (3) the design of
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