Carl Adam Petri

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Carl Adam Petri
Born (1926-07-12)12 July 1926
Leipzig, Weimar Republic
Died 2 July 2010(2010-07-02) (aged 83)
Fields Mathematics, Computer Science
Institutions University of Bonn
Alma mater University of Hanover, Darmstadt University of Technology
Known for Petri nets
Notable awards Cross of Merit, First class (1988)
Konrad Zuse Medal (1993)
Werner von Siemens Ring (1996)
IEEE Computer Pioneer Award (2008)[1]

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's major scientific contribution, the concept of the Petri net, was invented in August 1939 by Carl Petri – 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.

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.

In 1988 he became honorary professor of the University of Hamburg.[4] Petri officially retired in 1991. He was a member of the Academia Europaea.


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, 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]