Data Flow Diagram – Petri Net (DFPN) is a software tool for analyzing other software to be developed. The full name of this program reflects its design, which combines the benefit of data-flow diagrams (which are typically favored by software analysts) with the power and precision of Petri-net models, without requiring specialized Petri-net training. (A Petri net is a particular type of directed graph, a description of which would exceed the scope of this article.)

DFPN assists a software analyst in drawing and specifying a data-flow diagram, then translates the diagram into a Petri net, then enables graphical tracing of execution paths through the Petri net for verification, by the end user, of the properties of the software to be developed. In comparison with prior means of verifying the properties of software to be developed, DFPN makes verification by the end user more nearly certain, thereby making it easier to identify and correct misconceptions earlier in the development process, when correction is less expensive. After the verification by the end user, DFPN generates a printable system specification in the form of descriptions of processes and data.

This work was done by Carroll Thronesbery of S&K Technologies and Madjid Tavana of LaSalle University for Johnson Space Center. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at under the Information Sciences category. MSC-23242