An introduction to Petri nets

Miryam Barad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This paper describes the fundamental concepts and characteristics of Petri nets (PNs) that make them a significant tool for modeling and analyzing asynchronous systems with concurrent and parallel activities and follows the extensions that improved the implementation capabilities of the original PNs. Their first and most relevant extension was time modeling, a vital aspect of system performances not considered in the original version. There are several possibilities for introducing time in PNs. Among them, a technique that associates time with places is presented in some detail. As PNs tend to become cumbersome and time consuming when large and complex systems are involved, a method for decomposing timed PNs of open queuing networks is reviewed here. Though initially developed as an information/computer-based technique, PNs were immediately adopted in a variety of application areas, such as manufacturing, design, planning and control. Viewed through a more recently developed programming perspective, the ordinary PNs became "high level" PNs suitable for defining different data types and for applying hierarchical approaches. It is expected that the robust theoretical basis of this tool coupled with its visual and flexibility features will continue to appeal to researchers and practitioners alike in a variety of domains and as a result will continue to evolve and expand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-582
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of General Systems
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2003


  • Decomposing Petri nets
  • High level Petri nets
  • Invariants
  • Petri nets
  • Timed places


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