Department of Computer Science and Technology

Technical reports

Petri net theory: a survey

Paul R. Manson

June 1988, 77 pages

DOI: 10.48456/tr-139


The intense interest in concurrent (or “parallel”) computation over the past decade has given rise to a large number of languages for concurrent programming, representing many conflicting views of concurrency.

The discovery that concurrent programming is significantly more difficult than sequential programming has prompted considerable research into determining a tractable and flexible theory of concurrency, with the aim of making concurrent processing more accessible, and indeed the wide variety of concurrent languages merely reflects the many different models of concurrency which have also been developed.

This report, therefore introduces Petri nets, discussing their behaviour, interpretation and relationship to other models of concurrency. It defines and discusses several restrictions and extensions of the Petri net model, showing how they relate to basic Petri nets, while explaining why they have been of historical importance. Finally it presents a survey of the analysis methods applied to Petri nets in general and for some of the net models introduced here.

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BibTeX record

  author =	 {Manson, Paul R.},
  title = 	 {{Petri net theory: a survey}},
  year = 	 1988,
  month = 	 jun,
  url = 	 {},
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  doi = 	 {10.48456/tr-139},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-139}