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Configuration structures, event structures and petri nets


Rob van Glabbeek and Gordon Plotkin



Stanford University

University of Edinburgh


In this paper the correspondence between safe Petri nets and event structures, due to Nielsen, Plotkin and Winskel, is extended to arbitrary nets without self-loops, under the collective token interpretation. To this end we propose a more general form of event structure, matching the expressive power of such nets. These new event structures and nets are connected by relating both notions with configuration structures, which can be regarded as representations of either event structures or nets that capture their behaviour in terms of action occurrences and the causal relationships between them, but abstract from any auxiliary structure.

A configuration structure can also be considered logically, as a class of propositional models, or - equivalently - as a propositional theory in disjunctive normal from. Converting this theory to conjunctive normal form is the key idea in the translation of such a structure into a net.

For a variety of classes of event structures we characterise the associated classes of configuration structures in terms of their closure properties, as well as in terms of the axiomatisability of the associated propositional theories by formulae of simple prescribed forms, and in terms of structural properties of the associated Petri nets.

BibTeX Entry

    author           = {van Glabbeek, Robert and Plotkin, Gordon},
    journal          = {Theoretical Computer Science},
    issn             = {0304-3975},
    number           = {41},
    month            = sep,
    volume           = {410},
    year             = {2009},
    keywords         = {concurrency, configuration structures, event structures, petri nets, propositional logic.},
    title            = {Configuration Structures, Event Structures and Petri Nets},
    pages            = {4111--4159}


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