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Research Papers

Precise Quantitative Analysis of Probabilistic Business Process Model and Notation Workflows

[+] Author and Article Information
Luke Herbert

Doctoral Candidate
e-mail: lthhe@imm.dtu.dk

Robin Sharp

Associate Professor
e-mail: robin@imm.dtu.dk
Informatics Department,
Technical University of Denmark,
2300 Lyngby, Denmark

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Computers and Information Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF COMPUTING AND INFORMATION SCIENCE IN ENGINEERING. Manuscript received October 10, 2012; final manuscript received December 14, 2012; published online March 14, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Bahram Ravani.

J. Comput. Inf. Sci. Eng 13(1), 011007 (Mar 15, 2013) (9 pages) Paper No: JCISE-12-1179; doi: 10.1115/1.4023362 History: Received October 10, 2012; Revised December 14, 2012

We present a framework for modeling and analysis of real-world business workflows. We present a formalized core subset of the business process modeling and notation (BPMN) and then proceed to extend this language with probabilistic nondeterministic branching and general-purpose reward annotations. We present an algorithm for the translation of such models into Markov decision processes (MDP) expressed in the syntax of the PRISM model checker. This enables precise quantitative analysis of business processes for the following properties: transient and steady-state probabilities, the timing, occurrence and ordering of events, reward-based properties, and best- and worst- case scenarios. We develop a simple example of medical workflow and demonstrate the utility of this analysis in accurate provisioning of drug stocks. Finally, we suggest a path to building upon these techniques to cover the entire BPMN language, allow for more complex annotations and ultimately to automatically synthesize workflows by composing predefined subprocesses, in order to achieve a configuration that is optimal for parameters of interest.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Core BPMN elements

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Fig. 3

Simplified example of an annotated patient treatment workflow

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Fig. 4

Illustration of interleaving semantics imposed by the PRISM model checker (extract of the state space of the parallel processes of the example from Sec. 4)

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Fig. 5

Probability of exhausting drug stock for drug stock sizes ranging from 0 to 10

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