Using Petri Net Tools to Study Properties and Dynamics of Biological Systems

Mor Peleg, Daniel Rubin, and Russ B. Altman

Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) 12(2):181-199, 2005


Petri Nets (PNs) and their extensions are promising methods for modeling and simulating biological systems. We surveyed PN formalisms and tools and compared them based on their mathematical capabilities as well as by their appropriateness to represent typical biological processes. We measured the ability of these tools to model specific features of biological systems and answer a set of biological questions that we defined. We found that different tools are required to provide all capabilities we assessed. We created software to translate a generic PN model into most of the formalisms and tools discussed. We have also made available three models and suggest that a library of such models would catalyze progress in qualitative modeling via PNs. Development and wide adoption of common formats would enable researchers to share models and use different tools to analyze them without the need to convert to proprietary formats.


Full paper pdf