Distributed and Parallel Databases

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 105-144

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Fast business process similarity search

  • Zhiqiang YanAffiliated withEindhoven University of Technology
  • , Remco DijkmanAffiliated withEindhoven University of Technology Email author 
  • , Paul GrefenAffiliated withEindhoven University of Technology


Nowadays, it is common for organizations to maintain collections of hundreds or even thousands of business processes. Techniques exist to search through such a collection, for business process models that are similar to a given query model. However, those techniques compare the query model to each model in the collection in terms of graph structure, which is inefficient and computationally complex. This paper presents an efficient algorithm for similarity search. The algorithm works by efficiently estimating model similarity, based on small characteristic model fragments, called features. The contribution of this paper is threefold. First, it presents three techniques to improve the efficiency of the currently fastest similarity search algorithm. Second, it presents a software architecture and prototype for a similarity search engine. Third, it presents an advanced evaluation of the algorithm. Experiments show that the algorithm in this paper helps to perform similarity search about 10 times faster than the original algorithm.


Business process Feature Similarity Search