Adding flexibility to workflows through incremental planning


Workflow management systems usually interpret a workflow definition rigidly. However, there are real life situations where users should be allowed to deviate from the prescribed static workflow definition for various reasons, including lack of information, unavailability of the required resources and unanticipated situations. Furthermore, workflow complexity may grow exponentially if all possible combinations of anticipated scenarios must be compiled into the workflow definition. To flexibilize workflow execution and help reduce workflow complexity, this paper proposes a dual strategy that combines a library of predefined typical workflows with a planner mechanism capable of incrementally synthesizing new workflows, at execution time. This dual strategy is motivated by the difficulty of designing emergency plans, modeled as workflows, which account for real-life complex crisis or accident scenarios.

DOI: 10.1007/s11334-007-0035-y

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