I'm having a hard time finding any prominent applications of Petri nets in the industry. Can you name some, or are Petri nets still just an academic curiosity?

  • $\begingroup$ You may be asking the wrong people. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    May 8, 2017 at 20:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I believe most applications for business modeling still present almost everything as some sort of flow chart to the user. Hard to see what happens under the hood of these programs, since most of them are proprietary. Also, there's a whole landscape between an 'academic curiosity' and 'prominent applications in industry'. $\endgroup$
    – Discrete lizard
    May 8, 2017 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ You may find it easier to find applications of Petri Nets instead of prominent applications of Petri Nets. Personally, I apply Petri Nets to the organization of my computer programs. The programs I create are JavaScript programs that use the Acrobat/JavaScript API for PDF form applications. $\endgroup$ May 9, 2017 at 8:01
  • $\begingroup$ Petri nets can be used to model biochemical reactions: e.g. $A+B\to C$ is a transition that consumes a token from each place $A,B$ and produces a token in place $C$. Then, P-invariants and T-invariants can be used to infer properties about the biological system. They can be given a stochastic semantics, so that systems can be simulated using suitable Monte Carlo algorithms. So, they are relevant to systems biology. While I can't provide references to industrial uses, I'd be surprised if no pharma company didn't use them for some purpose. $\endgroup$
    – chi
    May 9, 2017 at 8:59

1 Answer 1


Petri-nets are e.g. used for Businees Process Modeling with BPMN. Of course Petri Nets are an abstract idea that lends itself to modelling a wide variety of dynamic and/or distributed systems - but especially for business processes, the provable reachability, liveness and boundedness are useful properties.

  • $\begingroup$ BPMN is similar to Petri nets, but not quite the same. Which relationship do you have in mind? $\endgroup$ Feb 25, 2018 at 22:13
  • $\begingroup$ Especially in an execution context, it's not uncommon to even transform (simple) BPMN models to Petri Nets, for example. $\endgroup$
    – thertweck
    Mar 5, 2018 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ I once worked on a Petri net editor and simulator that supported BPMN import, but when we worked on the translation, we found the BPMN semantics ill-defined. This was over 10 years ago; I hope it's better nowadays. $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2018 at 22:26

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