Scheduling workflows by enforcing intertask dependencies

P. C. Attie, M. P. Singh, E. A. Emerson, A. Sheth, M. Rusinkiewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Workflows are composite activities that can be used to support and automate multisystem applications involving humans, heterogeneous databases and legacy systems. The traditional atomic transaction model, successful for centralized and homogeneous applications, is not suitable for supporting such workflows. Intertask dependencies, which are conditions involving events and dependencies among workflow tasks, are used to specify the coordination requirements among the workflow tasks and are a central component of most workflow models. They form a basis for developing a uniform formal framework for workflows, which is a key contribution of this work. In this paper, we formalize intertask dependencies using temporal logic. This involves event attributes, which are needed to determine whether a dependency is enforceable and to properly schedule events. Each dependency is represented internally as a finite state automaton that captures the computations that satisfy the given dependency. Sets of automata are combined into a scheduler that produces global computations satisfying all relevant dependencies, thus enacting the given workflow. This algorithm is rigorously proved correct; it has been implemented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-238
Number of pages17
JournalDistributed Systems Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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