BPM Center was established in 2005 as a collaboration between TU/e and QUT. Since then, the center has been stimulating research in BPM and the application of these results in a variety of organizations. This page describes the history that lead to the creation of this center.

In 1998, Wil van der Aalst and Arthur ter Hofstede started collaborating on a paper in the area of workflow verification. They hadn’t met each other in person and the collaboration took place over email. At the CoopIS conference in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1999 they actually met in person and the well-known Workflow Patterns Initiative was born (which originally also involved Alistair Barros and Bartek Kiepuszewski). This first led to a paper for the CoopIS conference the next year and later to a paper in the journal Distributed and Parallel Databases.

At the CoopIS conference in Eilat, Israel in 2000 they met again and Wil  became involved in some theoretical work in the area of workflow language expressiveness that Bartek and Arthur  had been working on. This joint effort led to a paper in Acta Informatica and insights into relative expressive power of a number of abstractions of workflow languages.

In 2001 Wil  invited Arthur to Eindhoven where work was conducted on revising the main workflow patterns paper and on  the workflow expressiveness research. During this period the possibility of Wil visiting Brisbane was discussed which led to him receiving a QUT Visiting Fellowship for 2002.

During Wil’s first visit to QUT in 2002 YAWL was conceived and formally defined. During his second visit in 2002, two proposed standards for web service composition (BPEL and BPML) were analyzed in terms of the workflow patterns. This research also involved Petia Wohed and Marlon Dumas. In addition an ARC Discovery grant was prepared in he area of inter-language process mappings, which later was awarded (the BABEL project).

In 2003, Wil was appointed  as adjunct professor at QUT for a 3 year period. In 2003 he visited QUT twice and during these visits joint work was conducted on the implementation of the YAWL system (which also involved Lachlan Aldred and Marlon Dumas). In addition Arthur and Wil  started work on the workflow data patterns with Nick Russell and David Edmond. During this year Wil and Arthur, together with Mathias Weske, were program co-chairs of the BPM conference which was held in Eindhoven in June.

In 2004 during Wil’s visit further work was conducted on the implementation of the YAWL implementation which by then also involved Lindsay Bradford (editor), Tore Fjellheim (logging,  time service, and persistence), and Guy Redding (automated form generation). During this visit Wil also became involved in research conducted by Moe Wynn, David and Arthur in the area of the OR-join in YAWL,
research conducted by Lachlan Aldred, Arthur and Marlon in the area of communication patterns, and research conducted by Michael Adams, Arthur and David in the area of flexible workflow. In addition, Marlon, Wil an Arthur worked on an edited book with the title “Process-aware Information Systems”, which is to be submitted to the publisher in 2004 and which involves contributions from many expert in the field.

In 2004 Wil invited Arthur and Nick to visit Eindhoven University of Technology. Here discussions continued about the resource patterns and the patterns for exception handling, and the incorporation of the resource perspective into YAWL was also subject to debate. In addition, work on a patterns-based evaluation of UML 2.0 started which also involved Petia.

The year 2004 also saw NWO proposal on  “Patterns for Process-Aware Information Systems”, the P4PAIS project, awarded to TU/e. Wil van der Aalst is the first chief investigator and Eric Verbeek and Kees van Hee of Eindhoven are also involved in this research. Arthur and Marlon are partner investigators on this project. P4PAIS aims at a comprehensive treatment of patterns in the area of process-aware information systems.

Given the extent and the success of the collaboration between TU/e and QUT, it was decided to establish the BPM Center. This provided a more visible structure for this collaboration and  opened up more avenues for further BPM research.

Some of the highlights of the results established through BPM Center:

  • The collection and documentation of a comprehensive set of  workflow patterns (see www.workflowpatterns.org).
  • The development of the YAWL language and the YAWL workflow management system (see www.yawlfoundation.org).
  • The development of various process mining techniques and the ProM framework (see www.processmining.org).
  • The creation of a variety of configurable languages (C-EPCs, C-YAWL, C-SAP, etc.) and the Synergia toolset (see www.processconfiguration.com).
  • The development of  an open and extensible repository to store and disclose business process models (see www.apromore.org).

These examples illustrate the succesful collaboration in the context of BPM Center.