Petri nets: Basic notions, structure, behaviour

  • G. Rozenberg
  • P. S. Thiagarajan
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 224)


We give a sketch of the theory of Petri nets. The aspects that we concentrate on are the basic notions of the theory and the interplay between the structure and behaviour of distributed systems as modelled by Petri nets. The theory we present is confined to a restricted class of Petri nets called safe Petri nets which correspond essentially to systems that have finite state spaces.

Starting with an elementary system model based on safe nets we first introduce the basic notions of net theory such as sequence, conflict, concurrency and confusion. We then introduce a number of (increasingly sophisticated) behavioural notions such as firing sequences, traces and processes. Next we identify a number of structural subclasses of safe Petri nets and show how they guarantee behavioural properties such as sequentiality, determinism and lack of confusion. We then present the major results concerning these subclasses. Towards the end of the paper we give a quick sketch of the theory of non-sequential processes based on Petri nets. We also show one way of generalizing the elementary system model considered in the paper so that powerful net-based tools for modelling and analysing large scale distributed systems may be constructed.


Conditions events cases steps concurrency Petri nets subnet contact-freeness conflict confusion firing sequences traces non-sequential processes markings safe nets liveness S-graphs T-graphs free choice nets processes Predicate-Transition nets 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Rozenberg
    • 1
  • P. S. Thiagarajan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and Computer ScienceUniversity of LeidenLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Computer Science DepartmentAarhus UniversityÅrhus CDenmark

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