Conceptual Modeling Using Petri Nets

Conceptual Modeling Using Petri Nets

Antoni Guasch (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - Barcelona Tech, Spain), Jaume Figueras (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - Barcelona Tech, Spain) and Josep Casanovas (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - Barcelona Tech, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4369-7.ch001
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Petri nets are used by our students as a formal modeling technique before building a working simulation model in Arena or Simio. The Petri net model enables the simulation analyst to build a complete, unambiguous, and readable model of the target process before coding it in the target simulation tool. One of the aims of this chapter is to emphasize the need for formal specification of the simulation model before it is coded in the chosen target simulation environment. Formal specification of the model is of great help throughout the simulation project life cycle, especially in the coding and verification phase.
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Petri Nets

Petri nets originate from Carl Adam Petri’s doctoral thesis of 1962, “Kommunikation mit Automaten” (Petri, 1962), which introduced a new model of information flow in systems. Today, Petri nets are commonly used to model a variety of discrete event systems, such as communication protocols and networks; manufacturing, production and scheduling systems; logistic systems; and the design, specification, simulation and validation of software systems. Petri nets have a number of advantages:

  • They capture the precedence relations and structural interactions of concurrent and asynchronous events.

  • Their precise graphical formalism simplifies the visualization of complex systems.

  • Petri net theory provides an integrated methodology for modeling physical systems and complex decision processes.

  • They provide a uniform environment for modeling and formal analysis. The same model supports the construction of discrete event simulators and controllers as well as the formal verification of behavioral properties such as the precedence relations of events, concurrent operations, appropriate synchronization, freedom from deadlock, and mutual exclusion of shared resources.

  • They explicitly represent model states and events.

  • Petri net models can be used to implement real-time control systems. They can be used to model or replace Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs).

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