Computational Petri Nets: Adjunctions Considered Harmful

Paper abstract:

We review some of the endeavors in trying to connect Petri nets with free symmetric monoidal categories. We give a list of requirement such connections should respect if they are meant to be useful for practical/implementation purposes. We show how previous approaches do not satisfy them, and give compelling evidence that this depends on trying to make the correspondence functorial in the direction from nets to free symmetric monoidal categories, in order to produce an adjunction. We show that dropping this immediately honors our desiderata, and conclude by introducing an Idris library which implements them.

This paper led to directly to the LICS publication Categories of Nets which introduces the Category of Σ\Sigma-nets.