Use of Petri Net in Protocol Specification.


This project work is concerned with application of Petri Net in protocol specification. In this project work, definition of Petri Nets and Protocols are given.

The role and importance of formal specification techniques are also discussed. Petri Nets are a graphical tool and could be used for the formal description of the flow of activities in complex systems like protocol.

It is gaining popularity in recent years as a tool for the representation of complex logical interactions like synchronization, sequence, concurrency and conflict among physical components or activities in the system.

This project work presents a specification of a chosen protocol using Petri Net and implemented the specification using JAVA programming language.

Conclusively, Petri net is shown to be 70% better than other formal protocol specification methods.

Table Of Contents

Title page                     i

Certification page              ii

Approval page                      iii

Dedication page                    iv

Acknowledgement page                v

Abstract                          vi

Table of Contents             vii

List of figures                 viii

List of tables                   ix


  • Background of study 1
  • Statement of Problem 3
  • Objectives of Study 3
  • Scope and Limitation of Study 4
  • Significance of Study 4
  • Definition of Terms 4


  • Protocol Definition 6
  • Formal Protocol Specification 7
  • Meaning of Specifications and Verification 7
    • Specifications 7
    • Verifications 9
    • Components of a Specification 10
  • Overview of Protocol Specification Techniques/Methods 11
    • Finite State Automata 11
    • Abstract Machine 13
    • Formal Languages 14
    • Sequencing expression 16
    • Abstract Data type 17
    • Buffer Histories 17
  • Petri Net Defined 18
    • Types of Petri Nets 20
    • Properties of Petri Nets 23
    • Use of Petri Nets 24


  • Analysis of the Existing Protocol Specification Methods 26
    • Problems Inherent In the Existing Methods 26
  • Analysis of the Proposed Protocol Specification Method 28
    • Analysis of Connection Establishment Protocol 29
    • Mapping of Connection Establishment Protocol onto Petri Net 32
    • Use Case Diagram of the System 35
  • System Design 36
    • Class Diagram of the System 36
    • Sequence Diagram of the System 38


  • Choice of Programming Language 44
  • Sender and receiver Protocol Architecture 44
  • Screen Shots of Demos 46
  • System Specifications 48
  • User Guide 49
  • Performance Evaluation 49


  • Summary 53
  • Conclusion 53
  • Recommendation 53




Background Of Study

The importance of protocol arises from the fact that protocols form the nervous system of teleprocessing networks and as such are responsible for ensuring that the pieces of the system work as a harmonious whole.

The complexity and size of today’s systems and the fact that they are put together from subsystem components manufactured in different locations and even by different companies, virtually demand formal specification and there are many side benefits.

And so, as open systems and standard network architectures encompass an ever growing segment of the computing industry, the need for clear and precise protocol specification becomes more important.

Traditional methods of informal narrative specifications and ad hoc validation have demonstrated their shortcomings as protocol bugs and incompatible implementations crop up.

Problems of ambiguous and incomplete specifications are particularly severe for the ever growing number of protocol standards that must be implemented by a wide community of users with diverse equipment (Rudin, 2003).

There has been recent work on formal protocol specification and verification. In addition to individual researchers, several national and international standards organizations have become active in this area.


Ambler Scott. (2009). “Introduction to Object-Orientation and the UML” Available: http:/ [Accessed June 20, 2013]

Babich F, and Deotto L, (2002). “Formal Methods for Specification and Analysis of  Communication   Protocols” [Accessed July 10, 2012]

Bobbio, A, (1990) “System Modeling with Petri Nets” Available: [Accessed October 15, 2012]

Comer, Douglas E.(2009) “World Wide Web.” Microsoft® Encarta® 2009 [DVD].Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008.

Desel J and Juhas G, (2001) “What is a Petri Net”: Informal Answer for the Informed Reader Available: http://www-dssz.informatik.tu- [Accessed October 10, 2012]

ETSI European Telecommunications Standard Institute site “Protocol Specification Language” Available: clusters/technologies/protocol-specification. [Accessed March 20, 2013]

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