Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Industrial Engineering

Major Professor

Ali Yalcin, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

William Miller, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Suresh Khator, Ph.D.


supervisory control theory, task, control-flow dependencies, state avoidance, string avoidance


A Workflow is an automation of a business process. In general, it consists of processes and activities, which are represented by well-defined tasks. These include 'Office Automation,' 'Health Care' and service-oriented processes such as 'Online Reservations,' 'Online Bookstores' and 'Insurance Claims,' etc. The entities that execute these tasks are humans, application programs or database management systems. These tasks are related and dependent on one another based on business policies and rules.

With rapid increases in application domains that use workflow management systems, there is a need for a framework that can be used to implement these applications. In particular, it is essential to provide a formal technique for defining a problem that can be used by various workflow software product developers.

In this work, a formal framework based on finite state automata that facilitate modeling and analysis of workflows is presented. The workflow and its specifications are modeled separately as finite state automata models. We provide a general framework for specifying control flow dependencies in the context of supervisory control theory. We also identify several properties of supervisory control theory and demonstrate their use for conducting the analysis of the workflows.