Formalizing (and Reasoning About) the Specifications of Workflows.

Goce Trajcevski, Chitta Baral and Jorge Lobo.


We address the problem of workflow requirements specifications under realistic assumptions that it involves experts from different domains (different business policies), where not all the possible execution scenarios are known beforehand. Using recent results on reasoning about actions, we formalize the notion of the specifications' correctness. To address this, we propose a high level language $\calw$ as a basis of our prototype tool for process specification. We go ``one step'' before actual analysis and design, and offer a formalism which enables the experts to specify their knowledge in terms of the effects that the activities have on the workflow environment. Our methodology allows expressing not only the knowledge, but also the ``ignorance'' (the semantics allows unknown values to reflect a realistic situation of agents dealing with incomplete information) and the possibility of exceptional situations. We define an entailment relation which enables reasoning about the correctness of the specifications, in terms of achieving a desired goal, and testing about consequences of modifications in the workflow descriptions.