Commitment-Based Business Process Modelling and Enactment

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Title: Commitment-Based Business Process Modelling and Enactment
Author: Wan, Feng
Advisors: Robert St. Amant, Committee Member
Peter Wurman, Committee Member
Munindar P. Singh, Committee Chair
James Lester, Committee Member
Abstract: Business process management faces challenges in dealing with business abnormalities and ever-changing business requirements. Traditional business process management approaches evolved from software engineering and workflow management where activities, messages and control logic are given prominence. The resulting models specify low-level details of execution and coordination. However, difficulties arise when modelling long-lived business transactions involving information updates and execution exceptions. To handle such situations, current approaches implement excessive activities without suitable abstractions, thereby arbitrarily fragmenting the business requirements. We propose a commitment-based approach for business process modelling that formulates business processes as multiagent systems. Organizational structure and its effect on interactions are described using commitments and causality. Agents act as process executors and maintain the commitments made to each other. Updates and exceptions yield commitment operations under which processes are updated and reexecuted. Our approach brings commitment semantics into business modelling and enables agent collaboration for business process enactment. We derive commitment protocols from agent conversations and generate agent execution models. We also formalize our approach using the Π-calculus and prove its correctness. To demonstrate the practical use of our approach, we formalize multiparty agreements with commitments and present algorithms on how to detect agreement conflicts and build satisfiable commitment sets.
Date: 2005-04-03
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Computer Science

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