Australian Response to JTC1 N4302 Proposed
Cancellation of Project 7.19.3 Petri nets
JTC1 N4302 proposes 8 pages of projects to be cancelled. One of these
projects is 7.19.3 Petri net. Australia strongly opposes the cancellation
of this project for the following reasons.
Active Support of National Bodies
We understand that the proposed cancellation of Project 7.19.3 was based on
document SC7 N1585. Only 7 National Bodies (NBs) had managed to input to
N1585. N1585 states that 3 NBs (out of 7) were actively participating in
the Petri net work and one expressed interested. These NBs did not include:
Australia, Germany and Denmark, which have now indicated to the SC7
secretariat that they are actively involved in the standard. This should be
reflected in the new version of SC7 N1585 being prepared by the SC7
The number of active participants in Project 7.19.3 is 6: Australia,
Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, USA. The UK has also contributed
significantly at the Aomori WG11 meeting and
support has been indicated by UK experts. It is possible that the UK may
become a participating member. Thus there are more than the required
12 countries supported the subdivision in the ballot (same justification
as for NWI was circulated): AUSTRALIA, DENMARK, GERMANY*, ISRAEL, ITALY,
JAPAN*, NORWAY, NETHERLANDS, SWEDEN, UK*, UKRAINE.
Only one country, USA was against, but the US comments acknowledged the
need for the standard. Australia believes that the US now supports the
project as they are now actively contributing to its success with good
input at the Ottawa WG11 meeting in October 1996 (contributions were from
Prof Tad Murata and Woody Pidcock (Boeing)).
France abstained, but stated in its comments in the ballot that it was
interested in the area. I have now received email that France will support
the project at the JTC1 meeting in December 96.
Project Technology (modern/current/new)
The work on Petri nets has matured to the stage where it is being picked up
by industry. Many Petri net based tools have been developed, several of
these to a commercial state. These are being used by hundreds organisations
around the world. It is thus timely for a standard. See subdivision
proposal, attached, for more detail.
There is significant market demand for a Petri net standard. For example,
some Telecommunications companies have stated that they will not use Petri
nets, despite there technical advantages, until there is an International
Standard. This is because there are many variations to high-level nets, and
there are many tools each of which have difficulty in interoperating. The
development of a standard will facilitate the understanding of
specifications written in a standard high-level net language, with a well
defined meaning. This will also facilitate the development of tools. The
development of a standard transfer syntax will allow current tools to
interoperate if they conform to the standard's semantics. There is
significant demand for exchanging specifications within and between
organisations, and this is growing as uptake in industry of the technique
continues. Petri nets are currently used in many industrial and government
organisations all over the world and this is increasing every year. For
example, just one high-level net computer tool, Design/CPN, which was first
available in the late 1980's is now used by 200 organisations in 30
different countries, including 50 commercial companies (see:
Proof of Functionality
Proof of functionality is considerable. There is a Web Page at
http://www.daimi.aau.dk/PetriNets/ which provides information about Petri
nets and how they have been used. A significant number of computer tools
have been developed and are being used commercially as indicated above.
Another example is the use of two different Petri net tools by Boeing
Corporation and their need for them to interoperate.
The Ottawa meeting also demonstrated that the techniques used to define the
Petri net standard, may well be of use in the wider context, particularly
to enhance the CDIF Meta meta model.
There are currently 6 countries actively supporting the work of Project
7.19.3. There is strong demand for a standard from many sectors from
Telecommunications to Defence and Aerospace. The technology is up to date
and has been proved.
The project is progressing rapidly, and currently is meeting its ambitious
There is absolutely no reason for JTC1 to set about cancelling this
project. To do so would be an abbrogation of its responsibility to the
nations of the world.
Further, given that there has already been a significant process of
justification in the ballot which was completed this year, JTC1's action
has removed precious resources from developing the standard and wasted them
on a needless rejustification. JTC1 needs to be much more careful in the
way it proceeds with such reviews. It should require these reviews to be
done by the SCs in charge of the work. It is indicative of the lack of
resources that only 7 out of 28 countries managed to be aware that the
review was in progress in SC7. It is hard enough to get worthwhile projects
started and completed without having to rejustify the work immediately
after it has been approved! Australia therefore requests that the process
of review be revised to ensure adequate time for consultation, and that
projects that have been approved within two years of the commencement of
the review be exempted, so that they have a chance to do the technical work
Project 7.19.3 Editor, Australia.
29th November 1996.