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The Process Interchange Format and Framework

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 1998

Department of Decision Sciences, University of Hawaii, 2401 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto
Department of Civil Engineering, Stanford University
Center for Coordination Science, MIT
Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute, University of Edinburgh
Digital Equipment Corporation


This document provides the specification of the Process Interchange Format (PIF) version 1.2. The goal of this work is to develop an interchange format to help automatically exchange process descriptions among a wide variety of business process modelling and support systems such as workflow software, flow charting tools, planners, process simulation systems and process repositories. Instead of having to write ad hoc translators for each pair of such systems each system will only need to have a single translator for converting process descriptions in that system into and out of the common PIF format. Then any system will be able to automatically exchange basic process descriptions with any other system. This document describes the PIF-CORE 1.2, i.e. the core set of object types (such as activities, agents and prerequisite relations) that can be used to describe the basic elements of any process. The document also describes a framework for extending the core set of object types to include additional information needed in specific applications. These extended descriptions are exchanged in such a way that the common elements are interpretable by any PIF translator, and the additional elements are interpretable by any translator that knows about the extensions. The PIF format was developed by a working group including representatives from several universities and companies, and has been used for experimental automatic translations among systems developed independently at three of these sites. This document is being distributed in the hopes that other groups will comment upon the interchange format proposed here, and that this format (or future versions of it) may be useful to other groups as well. The PIF Document 1.0 was released in December 1994, and the current document reports the revised PIF that incorporate the feedback received since then.

Review Article
© 1998 Cambridge University Press

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