Variable Petri Nets for Mobility

Zhijun Ding, Ru Yang, Puwen Cui, Meng Chu Zhou, Changjun Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mobile computing systems, service-based systems, and some other systems with mobile interacting components have recently received much attention. However, because of their characteristics, such as mobility and disconnection, it is difficult to model and analyze them by using a structure-fixed model. This work proposes a new Petri net model called variable Petri net (VPN) for modeling and analyzing these systems. The definition, firing rule, and related analysis technology of VPN are introduced in detail. In a VPN, the possible interaction interfaces are abstracted as a new kind of places called virtual places, and the occurrences of (dis)connections are described by new functions, which makes it appropriate to describe the component collaboration in systems and realize the scalability and pluggability of systems. Moreover, to overcome the shortcoming that markings cannot reflect the link capability of a system, VPNs add a constraint function along with a marking to represent a complete system configuration. Several examples are used to demonstrate the newly proposed model and method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics: Systems
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Analytical models
  • Bluetooth
  • Business process
  • Computational modeling
  • Petri nets
  • Petri nets (PNs)
  • Scalability
  • Vehicle dynamics
  • Virtual private networks
  • discrete event systems
  • dynamic interaction
  • formal model
  • vehicular cyber-physical system (VCPS).


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