Engineering Process Enactment and Coordination in Data-centric Process Management Systems

Universität Ulm

Fakultätsöffentliche Vorstellung des Promotionsvorhabens (Grüner Vortrag), Sebastian Steinau, Ort: Online, Datum: 13.11.2020, Zeit: 09:00 Uhr

Data-centric approaches to business process management offer many advantages compared to activity-centric ones, including a better integration of processes with data as well as enhanced process flexibility. Several approaches have been proposed focusing on the specification and modeling of data-centric processes. Yet, these approaches have not provided a comprehensive runtime support, severely hampering their use in practice. Data-centric processes consist of objects with lifecycles, which interact with one another and need to be coordinated to reach a certain business goal. This definition has several implications that make both the conception and implement-ation of a sophisticated runtime support challenging. Objects need to acquire data in a flexibly and robust fashion. In turn, the interacting objects may have complex relationships, such as transitive one-to-many and many-to-many relationships. Additionally, object lifecycles run concurrently to each other.

This presentation discusses the above challenges and contributes solutions for the enactment of object lifecycles and their coordination. The overall goal is to provide concepts and approaches allowing for a sophisticated runtime support in data-centric process management systems. In particular, this necessitates the design of an operational semantics for object lifecycle processes that take the above challenges into account, providing flexible and robust data acquisition. Furthermore, an approach for coordinating object lifecycles is presented, which is based on three fundamental concepts, i.e., the relational process structure, semantic relationships, and coordination processes as well as their operational semantics. Together, these concepts enable a proper coordination of concurrently running object lifecycles with complex relationships. Both, object lifecycles and their coordination are implemented in the PHILharmonicFlows object-aware process management system, demonstrating the practical applicability and usefulness of the operational semantics we defined for object lifecycles and object coordination.