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Generator of Petri nets which count double exponent 2^2^k after R.J.Lipton & J.Esparza constructs


The generated net counts 2^2^k as a strong computer after Richard J. Lipton [1].

Well-structured net programs of Javier Esparza [2] have been encoded by Petri nets.

The following marking belongs to the reachability space: fin-INC_k=1; x_0=2, y_0=2, s'_0=2; x_1=4, y_1=4, s'_1=4; ...; x_k=2^2^k, y_k=2^2^k, s'_k=2^2^k. It is the only marking with fin-INC_k>0.

For a given k, the resulting net is composed of a single Block_0 and repeated (k-1) times Block_i.

Block_i includes subnets INC_{i+1}, TST-y_i, TST-x_i, DEC_i and variables (places) x_i, x'_i, y_i, y'_i, s_i, s'_i.

Connections of neighboring blocks reflect initialization of the next variables x_{i+1}, y_{i+1}, s'_{i+1} and recursive calls of the previous block's TST-y_{i-1}, TST-x_{i-1}:

                                       +----->   y_{i+1}
                                       |        s'_{i+1} 
    +-------------+             +------+------+
+---| INC_i       |============>| INC_{i+1}   |---+
|   +-------------+             +-------------+   |
|                                                 |
|   +-------------+             +-------------+   |
+-->| TST-y_{i-1} |<------+     | TST-y_i     |<--+
|   +-------------+       |     +-------------+   |
|          |              |            |          |
|          v              |            V          |
|   +-------------+       |     +-------------+   |
|   | DEC_{i-1}   |       +-----| DEC_i       |   |
|   +-------------+       |     +-------------+   |
|          ^              |            ^          |
|          |              |            |          |
|   +-------------+       |     +-------------+   |
+-->| TST-x_{i-1} |<------+     | TST-x_i     |<--+
    +-------------+             +-------------+

Peculiarities of generating Petri nets in logical (.net) and graphical (.ndr) formats of system Tina are described in [3].

Command line formats:

depn k > pn_de_k.ndr


k an exponent to count 2^2^k (k>0).

Output (file) format:

.ndr "Time Petri nets graphic format" according to

Tools to display, edit, visualize, and analyze generated models:

Tina Toolbox for analysis of Petri nets and Time Petri nets

Small nets (k<=3) can be analyzed in graphical tool nd. For bigger nets we recommend using command line tools: sift - to build the marking graph and muse - to find required marking.

Exported from Tina, models are opened with other tools for Petri nets listed at


A. Graphical environment

depn 2 > pn_de_2.ndr

  • Generate Petri net to count 2^2^2=16

nd pn_de_2.ndr

  • Load the net into graphical environment of Tina.

Menue: "Tools - reachability analysis - verbose - OK"

  • Create marking graph

  • Save marking graph into file pn_de_2-tina-R.txt

  • Find the only marking having a token in place fin-INC_2 (p72): p8*2 p10*2 p13*2 p55*4 p56*4 p57*4 p108*16 p109*16 p110*16 p72

B. Command line tools

depn 3 > pn_de_3.ndr

  • Generate Petri net to count 2^2^3=256

sift pn_de_3.ndr -f "-p125"

  • Build the marking graph and search on-fly for markings which contain a token in p125 (fin-INC_3).

To start a search in a marking graph, we can determine the place number n (for the label fin-INC_k) either from graphical representation of the net in nd or via textual search on .ndr file for a given label or using the following expression based on the number of places in Block_0 and Block_i and offsets of the place in question within blocks: if k=1 then n=25 else n=54+(k-2)*53+18=53k-34. Note that marking graphs are rather big to tackle with them for k>4.


  1. Richard J. Lipton, The Reachability Problem Requires Exponential Space, Technical Report 63, Yale University, 1976.

  2. Javier Esparza, Decidability and Complexity of Petri Net Problems - An Introduction. LNCS 1491, 1996, 374-428.

  3. Dmitry A. Zaitsev, Generators of Petri Net Models. Computer Communication & Collaboration, Vol. 2, Issue 2, 2014, 12-25.

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