Applying Propositional Logic to Workflow Verification

Henry H. Bi, J. Leon Zhao
2004 Journal of Special Topics in Information Technology and Management  
The increasing complexity of business processes in the era of e-business has heightened the need for workflow verification tools. However, workflow verification remains an open and challenging research area. As an indication, most of commercial workflow management systems do not yet provide workflow designers with formal workflow verification tools. We propose a logic-based verification method that is based on a well-known formalism, i.e., propositional logic. Our logic-based workflow
more » ... on approach has distinct advantages such as its rigorous yet simplistic logical formalism and its ability to handle generic activitybased process models. In this paper, we present the theoretical framework for applying propositional logic to workflow verification and demonstrate that logic-based workflow verification is capable of detecting process anomalies in workflow models. Key words: business process management, constrained truth table, logic-based workflow verification, propositional logic, workflow verification The current trend in e-business has led to more complex business processes in recent years and has increased the need for workflow verification tools that help workflow designers develop correct workflow models efficiently. The purpose of workflow verification is to examine whether there are any conflicts or anomalies in workflow models so as to avoid much higher costs of breakdown, debugging, and fixing during runtime [4, 13] . For this reason, workflow verification should be a fundamental part of workflow design. However, the lack of formal methodologies for workflow verification remains a major concern [8, 15]. While theoretical research in workflow verification has been around for quite a few years, there are few workflow verification tools available, particularly in commercial workflow systems. So far, most workflow management systems (WFMSs) provide only simulation tools for validating workflow models using the trial-and-error method [9] . Simulation tools cannot replace the formal verification approaches because they are inefficient and inaccurate [17] . The
doi:10.1023/b:item.0000031583.16306.0f fatcat:343c7cavf5bxfgdyf3orjwsqhq