Encyclopedia of Parallel Computing

2011 Edition
| Editors: David Padua

Petri Nets

  • Jack B. Dennis
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-09766-4_134



A Petri Net is a graph model for the control behavior of systems exhibiting concurrency in their operation. The graph is bipartite, the two node types being places drawn as circles, and transitions drawn as bars. The arcs of the graph are directed and run from places to transitions or vice versa. Each place may be empty, or hold a finite number of tokens. The state of a Petri net is the distribution of tokens on its places, called a marking of the net. A transition is enabled if each of its input places holds at least one token. Firing a transition means removing one token from each input place and adding one token to each output place. A runof a Petri net is any sequence of firings of enabled transitions; a run defines a sequence of markings. Because many transitions may be enabled in a state, there are often many possible distinct runs of a Petri net. Hence, a Petri net represents a kind of nondeterministic state machine, but in a...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jack B. Dennis
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence LaboratoryMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyMAUSA