This Article 
   
 Share 
   
 Bibliographic References 
   
 Add to: 
 
Digg
Furl
Spurl
Blink
Simpy
Google
Del.icio.us
Y!MyWeb
 
 Search 
   
Handling of Irregularities in Human Centered Systems: A Unified Framework for Data and Processes
October 2000 (vol. 26 no. 10)
pp. 959-977

Abstract—Practical process-support and workflow systems should be built to describe the simple, normal flow of events and then deal easily with irregularities, including tolerating deviations. Similarly, these systems should describe the normal format and constraints concerning the large amounts of data that are usually stored, but then deal with abnormalities and possibly accommodate exceptional values. We offer a framework for treating both kinds of irregularities uniformly by using the notion of exception handling (with human agents as potential online exception handlers) and applying it to processes that have been reified as objects in classes with steps as attributes. As a result, only a small number of new constructs, which can be applied orthogonally, need to be introduced. Special run-time checks are used to deal with the consequences of permitting deviations from the norm to persist as violations of constraints. A logical semantics of process coordination and deviations is presented as a specification for implementations.

[1] K.R. Abbott and S.K. Sarin, “Experiences with Workflow Management: Issues for the Next Generation,” Proc. Conf. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW '94), pp. 113-120, 1994.
[2] A. Agostini and G. De Michelis, “Simple Workflow Models,” Proc. Workshop Workflow Management, pp. 146-164, June 1998.
[3] R. Libeskind-Hades et al., Fault Covering Problems in Reconfigurable VLSI Systems, Kluwer Academic, AA Dorecht, the Netherlands, 1992.
[4] J. Barron, “Dialogue and Process Design for Interactive Information Systems Using Taxis,” Proc. SIGOA Conf. Office Information Systems, pp. 12-20, June 1982.
[5] S. Bandinelli, A. Fuggetta, and C. Ghezzi, “Process Model Evolution in the SPADE Environment,” IEEE Trans. Software Eng., Dec. 1993.
[6] J. Banerjee, W. Kim, H.J. Kim, and H.F. Korth, “Semantics and Implementation of Schema Evolution in Object-Oriented Databases,” Proc. ACM-SIGMOD Int'l Conf. Management of Data, pp. 311–322, May 1987.
[7] D.P. Bogia and S.M. Kaplan, “Flexibility and Control for Dynamic Workflows in the Worlds Environment,” Proc. Conf. Organizational Computing Systems, pp. 148-161, Nov. 1995.
[8] A. Borgida, “Language Features for Flexible Handling of Exceptions in Information Systems,” ACM Trans. Database Systems, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 565–603, Dec. 1985.
[9] F. Casati, S. Ceri, B. Pernici, and G. Pozzi, "Conceptual Modeling of Workflows," Proc. Int'l Conf. Object-Oriented and Entity-Relationship,Goldcoast, Australia, pp. 341-354, 1995.
[10] F. Casati, S. Ceri, B. Pernici, and G. Pozzi, “Workflow Evolution,” IEEE Trans. Data and Knowledge Eng., vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 211-238, 1998.
[11] F. Casati, S. Ceri, S. Paraboschi, and G. Pozzi, “Specification and Implementation of Exceptions in Workflow Management Systems,” Technical Report 98.81, Dipt. di Elettronica e Informazione, Politecnico di Milano, Aug. 1998.
[12] S. Ceri, P.W.P.J. Grefen, and G. Sanchez, “WIDE: A Distributed Architecture for Workflow Management,” Proc. Research Issues in Data Eng. (RIDE '97), Apr. 1997.
[13] G. Cugola, E. Di Nitto, C. Ghezzi, and M. Mantione, “How to Deal with Deviations During Process Model Enactment,” Proc. 17th Int'l Conf. Software Eng., Seattle, New York: ACM, 1995.
[14] G. Cugola, E. Di Nitto, A. Fuggetta, and C. Ghezzi, “A Framework for Formalizing Inconsistencies and Deviations in Human-Centered Systems,” ACM Trans. Software Eng. and Methodology, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 191-230, July 1996.
[15] G. Cugola, “Tolerating Deviations in Process Support Systems via Flexible Enactment of Process Models,” IEEE Trans. Software Eng., vol. 24, no. 11, Nov. 1998.
[16] Q. Cui and J. Gannon, “Data-Oriented Exception Handling,” IEEE Trans. Software Eng., Vol.18, No. 5, pp. 393–401, May 1992.
[17] U. Dayal, M. Hsu, and R. Ladin, "A Transactional Model for Long-Running Activities," Proc. 17th Int'l Conf. VLDB, 1991.
[18] P. Dourish, J. Holmes, A. McLean, P. Marqvardsen, and A. Zbyslaw, “Freeflow: Mediating between Representation and Action in Workflow Systems,” Proc. Conf. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW '96), pp. 190-198, 1996.
[19] C. Ellis and G. Nutt, "Modeling and Enactment of Workflow Systems," Application and Theory of Petri-Nets, Lecture Notes in Computer Science vol. 691. Springer-Verlag, 1993.
[20] C. Ellis, K. Keddara, and G. Rozenberg, "Dynamic Change Within Workflow Systems," Proc. COOCS'95, Aug. 1995.
[21] C. Ellis and K. Keddara, “Dynamic Change within Workflow Systems,” technical memo, Dept. of Computer Science, Univ. of Colorado, 1996.
[22] Proc. Work Activities Coordination and Collaboration (WACC '99), D. Georgakopoulos, W. Prinz, and A. Wolf eds., Feb. 1999.
[23] J. Gosling, B. Joy, and G. Steele, The Java Language Specification, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., 1996.
[24] C. Hagen and G. Alonso, "Flexible Exception Handling in the OPERA Process Support System," 18th Int'l Conf. Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS), IEEE Computer Soc. Press, Los Alamitos, Calif., 1998, pp. 526-533.
[25] P. Heinl, S. Horn, S. Jablonski, J. Neeb, K. Stein, and M. Teschke, “A Comprehensive Approach to Flexibility in Workflow Management Systems,” Proc. Work Activities Coordination and Collaboration (WACC '99), pp. 79-88, 1999.
[26] A.H.M. ter Hofstede, M.E. Orlowska, and J. Rajapakse, “Verification Problems in Conceptual Workflow Specifications,” Data and Knowledge Eng., vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 239-256, Jan. 1998.
[27] M. Kamath and K. Ramamritham, “Failure Handling and Coordinated Execution of Concurrent Workflows,” Proc. Int'l Conf. Data Eng. (ICDE '98), pp. 334-341, Feb. 1998.
[28] W. Kent, “Limitations of Record Based Information Models,” ACM Trans. Database System, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 107-131, Mar. 1979.
[29] G.E. Kaiser and B. Hailpern,“An object-based programming model for shared data,” ACM Trans. Programming Languages and Systems, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 201-264, Apr. 1992.
[30] M. Klein and C. Dellarocas, “A Knowledge-Based Approach to Handling Exceptions in Workflow Systems,” J. Computer-Supported Collaborative Work, Jan. 2000.
[31] D. Kozen, "Logics of Programs," J. van Leeuwen, ed., Handbook of Theoretical Computer Science, Elsevier Science, B.V., Amsterdam, 1990.
[32] M. Kradolfer and A. Geppert, “Dynamic Workflow Schema Evolution Based on Workflow Type Versioning and Workflow Migration,” TR 98.02, Dept. of Computer Science, Univ. of Zurich, Apr. 1998.
[33] J. Kunin, “Analysis and Specification of Office Procedures,” TR-275, MIT/LCS, 1982.
[34] B. Meyer, Eiffel: The Language, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, N.J., 1992.
[35] B. Meyer,Object-Oriented Software Construction. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1988.
[36] R. Miller and A. Tripathi, “Issues with Exception Handling in Object-Oriented Systems,” Proc. European Conf. Object-Oriented Programming (ECOOP '97), pp. 85-103, 1997.
[37] T. Murata, “Petri Nets: Properties, Analysis and Application,” Proc. IEEE, vol. 77, no. 4, 1989.
[38] T. Murata, “Correctness of an Object-Centered CICN Enactment Procedure that Tolerates Deviations,” technical report, Dept. of Computer Science, Rutgers Univ., to be published, 2000.
[39] J. Mylopoulos, P. Bernstein, and H. Wong, “A Language Facility for Designing Interactive, Database-Intensive Applications,” ACM Trans. Database Systems, vol. 5, no. 2, 1980.
[40] G. Nutt, “The Evolution toward Flexible Workflow Systems,” Distributed Systems Eng., pp. 276-294, Dec. 1996.
[41] M. Reichert and P. Dadam, “ADEPT—Supporting Dynamic Changes of Workflows without Loosing Control,” J. Intelligent Information Systems, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 93-130, Mar. 1998.
[42] A. Romanovsky, J. Xu, and B. Randell, “Exception Handling and Resolution in Distributed Object-Oriented Systems,” Proc. 16th IEEE Int'l Conf. Distributed Computing Systems, pp. 545-552, May 1996.
[43] H.T. Saastamoinen, “On the Handling of Exceptions,” PhD thesis, Univ. of Jyvaskyla, Jyvaskyla, Finland 1995.
[44] S.K. Sarin, “Object-Oriented Workflow Technology in InConcert,” Proc. COMPCON '96, pp. 446-450, 1996.
[45] Proc. Nat'l Science Foundation Workshop Workflow and Process Automation in Information Systems, A. Sheth ed., May 1996.
[46] D.M. Strong and S.M. Miller, “Exceptions and Exception Handling in Computerized Information Processes,” ACM Trans. Office Information Systems, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 206-233, 1995.
[47] P.S. Thiagarajan, “Elementary Net Systems,” Petri Nets: Central Models and Their Properties, W. Brauer et al., eds., pp. 26-59, 1986.
[48] H. Tuominen, “Elementary Net Systems and Dynamic Logic,” Advances in Petri Nets, Rozenberg, ed., pp. 453-466, 1989.
[49] M. Voorhoeve and W. van der Aalst, “Ad-hoc Workflow: Problems and Solutions,” Proc. Workshop Databases and Expert Systems, pp. 36-41, 1997.
[50] D. Worah and A. Sheth, “Transactions in Transactional Workflows,” Advanced Transaction Models and Architectures, S. Jajodia and L. Kerschberg, eds., pp. 3-31, New York: Kluwer, 1997.

Index Terms:
Exception handling, deviations, reified process model, constraints, safety, logical specification.
Citation:
Takahiro Murata, Alex Borgida, "Handling of Irregularities in Human Centered Systems: A Unified Framework for Data and Processes," IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 26, no. 10, pp. 959-977, Oct. 2000, doi:10.1109/32.879819
Usage of this product signifies your acceptance of the Terms of Use.