On determining the and-or hierarchy in workflow nets

Jacek Sroka, Jan Hidders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a notion of reduction where a WF net is transformed into a smaller net by iteratively contracting certain well-formed subnets into single nodes until no more of such contractions are possible. This reduction can reveal the hierarchical structure of a WF net, and since it preserves certain semantic properties such as soundness, can help with analysing and understanding why a WF net is sound or not. The reduction can also be used to verify if a WF net is an AND-OR net. This class of WF nets was introduced in earlier work, and arguably describes nets that follow good hierarchical design principles. It is shown that the reduction is confluent up to isomorphism, which means that despite the inherent non-determinism that comes from the choice of subnets that are contracted, the final result of the reduction is always the same up to the choice of the identity of the nodes. Based on this result, a polynomial-time algorithm is presented that computes this unique result of the reduction. Finally, it is shown how this algorithm can be used to verify if a WF net is an AND-OR net.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-123
Number of pages29
JournalFundamenta Informaticae
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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