Object Event Models –

Discrete Event
Business Process
Simulation Formalism

in Search of a Logic

Gerd Wagner

Brandenburg University of Technology


Object Event Modeling and Simulation

... is a new Discrete Event Simulation (DES) paradigm based on the following ontological principles:

  • Many systems of the real world are Discrete Dynamic Systems (DDS) consisting of objects and a (partially ordered) sequence/flow of events.
  • Objects-Events
    Objects participate in events.
  • The dynamics of a DDS is determined by causal regularities, which map situations to successor situations by ...
  • ... events causing state changes of participating objects and follow-up events.



  • A DDS is characterized by a succession of situations brought about by causal regularities.
  • Each situation s = ⟨ t, O, E ⟩ consists of a time point t, a set of objects O being in a certain state at t and a set of imminent events E = {e1@t1, e2@t2,...}, such that ti > t.

  • A situation has a set of next events NE occuring at

    t' = min { ti : e@tiE }.

  • These next events will trigger causal regularities at time t' resulting in a successor situation s'.

Causal Regularities

... determine under which conditions events e@t cause:

  1. Objects-Events
    state changes Δ of affected objects, and
  2. follow-up events e1@t1, e2@t2,...
t', Ot, e@t'Δ, {e1@t1, e2@t2,...} with ti > t'

Modeling a DDS

Computationally, a DDS can be represented by an Object Event Model (OEM) ⟨ OT, ET, R ⟩ consisting of:

  1. object types OT,

  2. event types ET,

  3. event rules R representing causal regularities.

While OT and ET can be defined by corresponding classes in a UML class model, R can be defined by a process model in the form of an Object Event Graph.

An Example of a Discrete Dynamic Systems

  • service-desk
    Customers arrive at a service desk at random times.
  • If there is no other customer in front of them, and the service desk is available, they are served immediately, otherwise they have to queue up in a waiting line.
  • The duration of services varies, depending on the individual case.
  • When a service is completed, the customer departs and the next customer is served, if there is still any customer in the queue.

Objects: customers, the service desk.

Events: arrivals, service starts, service ends.

Event Graphs

... have been proposed for event-based simulation modeling by Schruben in 1983.

service station model

The integer variable Q denotes the length of the queue.
The Boolean variable B denotes the busy/available status of the service station.

The semantics of an Event Graph is obtained by decomposing it into event rules.

Decomposing EGs into Event Rules (1)

service station model

ON Arrival DO Q++ AND if not B, SCHEDULE ServiceStart

Decomposing EGs into Event Rules (2)

service station model
service station model

Object Event Graph Example

Service Desk Information ModelService Desk Information Model

You can run this model from the sim4edu website.

Event Rules

... are expressions of the form

ON e(x1, …)@t DO F( t, x1, …),


  • e(x1, …)@t is an event expression specifying (1) the type e of events that trigger the rule, (2) a parameter t for the occurrence time of triggering events, and possibly (3) further parameters x1, … corresponding to the event type's attributes
  • F( t, x1, …) is a function that computes (1) a set of state changes and (2) a set of follow-up events, based on the event parameters x1, … and the event's occurrence time t

Event Rules as Mappings

When a rule r is triggered by an event e, it is applied to the current situation s by mapping it to a set of state changes Δ and a set of follow-up events F:

re(s) = ⟨ Δ, F

For a given set of events N and a rule set R, we can form the set of rules triggered by events from N and apply it as a mapping to s:

RN = { r : rR & eN & e triggers r }
Δ = ⋃ { Δi : riRN & ri(s) = ⟨ Δi, Fi ⟩ }
F = ⋃ { Fi : riRN & ri(s) = ⟨ Δi, Fi ⟩ }
RN(s) = ⟨ Δ, F

Updating a Situation

The current situation s = ⟨ t, O, E ⟩ is updated in the following steps:

  1. computing the next events N
  2. processing N by applying the triggered rules to s resulting in RN(s) = ⟨ Δ, F
  3. processing the state changes Δ resulting in an updated set of objects O' = Upd( O, Δ)
  4. processing the follow-up events F : E' = E - N ∪ F

... resulting in a successor situation s' = ⟨ t', O', E' ⟩

Executing an OEM as a Transition System

OES Execution Loop

In Search of a Logic

  • The transition system of the OEM/OES formalism seems to define a kind of temporal predicate logic with Past and Future operators.
  • Having a logic for OEM/OES would allow to express Liveness/Safety/Fairness properties of (business process) simulation models.
  • If Object Event Models could, for instance, be transformed to TLA+, this would allow to prove Liveness/Safety/Fairness properties.
  • Can we consider a situation s = ⟨ t, O, E ⟩ as a possible world of a temporal predicate logic frame M?
  • M = ⟨ T, <, U, Dom, Ind ⟩
  • Or in which way would the semantics of temporal predicate logic have to be modified?