Interpreted Execution of Business Process Models on Blockchain

Orlenys López-Pintado, Marlon Dumas, Luciano García-Bañuelos, Ingo Weber

Blockchain technology provides a tamper-proof mechanism to execute inter-organizational business processes involving mutually untrusted parties. Existing approaches to blockchain-based process execution are based on code generation. In these approaches, a process model is compiled into one or more smart contracts, which are then deployed on a blockchain platform. Given the immutability of the deployed smart contracts, these compiled approaches ensure that all process instances conform to the process model. However, this advantage comes at the price of inflexibility. Any changes to the process model require the redeployment of the smart contracts (a costly operation). In addition, changes cannot be applied to running process instances. To address this lack of flexibility, this paper presents an interpreter of BPMN process models based on dynamic data structures. The proposed interpreter is embedded in a business process execution system with a modular multi-layered architecture, supporting the creation, execution, monitoring and dynamic update of process instances. For efficiency purposes, the interpreter relies on compact bitmap-based encodings of process models. An experimental evaluation shows that the proposed interpreted approach achieves comparable or lower costs relative to existing compiled approaches.

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