Frequently Asked Questions

...with answers.
What is Petri Nets?
Petri Nets is a formal and graphical appealing language which is appropriate for modelling systems with concurrency and resource sharing. Petri Nets has been under development since the beginning of the 60'ies, where Carl Adam Petri defined the language. It was the first time a general theory for discrete parallel systems was formulated. The language is a generalisation of automata theory such that the concept of concurrently occurring events can be expressed. (See also Wikipedia.)

There are many resources, and ongoing and forthcoming activities on Petri Nets. The Petri Nets World (these Web pages) assembles information about such activities under supervision by the Petri Nets Steering Committee.

Who is Carl Adam Petri?
Carl Adam Petri was the first to formally define the Petri Nets language. He did so with his PhD thesis (Kommunikation mit Automaten) in the beginning of the 60'ies: He has a homepage, with bibliography and Curriculum Vitae, at the following WWW address: There are several photographs available online of C.A. Petri: Dagstuhl 1996, and Zaragoza 1999.

Moreover there is an excellent article about Carl Adam Petri, his exceptional life, and work. The article Carl Adam Petri and "Petri Nets" was written by Wilfried Brauer and Wolfgang Reisig and was translated from Informatik-Spektrum, Vol. 29, Nr. 5, pp. 369-374, Springer Verlag, 2006. You can download it here as [pdf] or [doc].

Can I try Petri Nets now?
There is a collection of simple Java Applet Petri Net tools that you can try online if your browser supports Java Applets. They provide an opportunity to quickly examine the basic syntax and dynamics of Petri nets.

Any references to introductory material on Petri Nets?
Please refer to the page Introductions to Petri Nets for publication lists and tutorials.

Any online introductions to Petri Nets?
We recommend that you use a search engine in order to find online introductory material. For instance, try Google. The page Introductions to Petri Nets also contains online tutorials on Petri Nets.

How are Petri Nets used in practice?
There are plenty of applications of Petri Nets in a wide variety of areas. Many applications are documented in publications both by academia and industry. Please refer to the page Applications of Petri Nets for more information.

What kinds of Petri Nets are there?
There are many variations of Petri Nets. There is a page A Classification of Petri Nets which is useful for getting a quick overview of the main differences between various kinds of Petri Nets.

Which are the main conferences and workshops?
The primary meetings in the Petri Nets community are the International Conferences on Application and Theory of Petri Nets and the International Workshops on Petri Nets and Performance Models. These and similar activities on Petri Nets are supervised by the Petri Nets Steering Committee. See also Announcement of Meetings for a calendar of forthcoming events.

How is "Petri Nets" written in different languages?

Is Petri Nets related with Petri dishes?
There are no interesting relations between Petri Nets and Petri dishes (that we know of).

Is Petri Nets related with network communication technology?
Petri Nets is a general graphical language which can be used for a wide variety of purposes, and hence not just specifically related with network communication technology. However, Petri Nets have proven useful for modelling, analysing, and verifying protocols typically used in networks.

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