Carl Adam Petri
1926 – 2010
Who was Carl Adam Petri?
Petri nets were invented in August 1939 by Carl Adam Petri – at the age of 13 – for the purpose of describing chemical processes. In 1941 his father told him about Konrad Zuse's work on computing machines and Carl Adam started building his own analog computer.
Petri started studying mathematics at the Darmstadt University of Technology in 1950. He documented the Petri net in 1962 as part of his dissertation, Kommunikation mit Automaten. He worked from 1959 until 1962 at the University of Bonn and received his PhD degree in 1962 from the Darmstadt University of Technology.
Petri's work significantly advanced the fields of parallel computing and distributed computing, and it helped define the modern studies of complex systems and workflow management systems. His contributions have been in the broader area of network theory which includes coordination models and theories of interaction, and eventually led to the formal study of software connectors.
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