A Framework for Designing Resource-Driven Workflows

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Abstract

This chapter presents a general framework of resource-driven workflows as an alternative to the more popular control flow-driven workflows approach. We argue that this approach is more holistic than control flow-driven approaches because it considers availability of resources such as data, people, equipment, space, etc. Control flow-driven approaches usually either disregard resource considerations or account for them only implicitly. In our approach, the control flow is a derivative of the resource needs of various tasks. Moreover, we make a clean separation between hard constraints that arise from resource considerations and soft constraints that result from business policy. The new methodology for process design is described at length, along with an architecture and a detailed discussion of implementation issues. This approach is more holistic and is particularly suited for ad hoc workflows as opposed to production workflows.