Carl Adam Petri

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Carl Adam Petri
Born(1926-07-12)12 July 1926
Died2 July 2010(2010-07-02) (aged 83)
Alma materUniversity of Hanover, Darmstadt University of Technology
Known forPetri nets
AwardsCross of Merit, First class (1988)
Konrad Zuse Medal (1993)
Werner von Siemens Ring (1996)
IEEE Computer Pioneer Award (2008)[1]
Scientific career
FieldsMathematics, Computer science
InstitutionsUniversity of Bonn

Carl Adam Petri (12 July 1926 – 2 July 2010) was a German mathematician and computer scientist. He was born in Leipzig.[2]

Life and work[edit]

Petri created his major scientific contribution, the concept of the Petri net, in 1939 at the age of 13, for the purpose of describing chemical processes.[3] In 1941 his father told him about Konrad Zuse's work on computing machines and Carl Adam started building his own analog computer.

After earning his Abitur at the Thomasschule he was in 1944 drafted into the Wehrmacht and eventually went into British captivity.

Petri started studying mathematics at the Technischen Hochschule Hannover (today, the University of Hanover) in 1950. He documented the Petri net in 1962 as part of his dissertation, Kommunikation mit Automaten (communication with automata). He worked from 1959 until 1962 at the University of Bonn and received his PhD degree in 1962 from the Darmstadt University of Technology. From 1963 to 1968 he directed the computing centre of Bonn University. In 1968 he became head of Forschungsinstitut für Informationssysteme of the newly founded Gesellschaft für Mathematik und Datenverarbeitung (GMD). He retired in 1991.

In 1988 Petri became honorary professor of the University of Hamburg.[4] He was a member of the Academia Europaea.

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.


Petri was honored with the following awards:

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Smith, Einar (2015). Carl Adam Petri: Life and Science. Springer. ISBN 978-3-662-48092-2.
  3. ^ [1] Carl Adam Petri and Wolfgang Reisig (2008), Scholarpedia, 3(4):6477, retrieved 2016-02-24.
  4. ^ Petri's page at the University of Hamburg
  5. ^ Konrad-Zuse-Medaille Archived 2014-08-19 at the Wayback Machine, Gesellschaft für Informatik (in German), retrieved 2012-03-09.
  6. ^ [2] idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft (in German), retrieved 2016-02-24.
  7. ^ [3] Stiftung Werner-von-Siemens-Ring (in German), retrieved 2016-02-24.
  8. ^ [4] TheATLAS, retrieved 2016-02-24.
  9. ^ [5] Carl Adam Petri, 2008 IEEE Computer Pioneer Award Recipient, retrieved 2016-02-24.

External links[edit]