A Formal Foundation for Process Modeling

In C. Welty B. Smith (ed.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS). ACM Press (2001)
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Abstract

Process modeling is ubiquitous in business and industry. While a great deal of effort has been devoted to the formal and philosophical investigation of processes, surprisingly little research connects this work to real world process modeling. The purpose of this paper is to begin making such a connection. To do so, we first develop a simple mathematical model of activities and their instances based upon the model theory for the NIST Process Specification Language (PSL), a simple language for describing these entities, and a semantics for the latter in terms of the former, and a set of axioms for the semantics based upon the NIST Process Specification Language (PSL). On the basis of this foundation, we then develop a general notion of a process model, and an account of what it is for such a model to be realized by a collection of events.

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Christopher Menzel
Texas A&M University

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