IEEE CIS Task Force on Process Mining

Trace: 2010_08_20_xes


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Standard Event Log Format

To make it easier to exchange event logs people use CSV files or MXML. The CSV file format works well for simple event logs and can be imported by almost any tool. The MXML format allows for more advanced things and makes notions such as timestamps, instance id's, etc. explicit.

One of the drawbacks of MXML is that it has fixed format, i.e., all additional attributes need to be stored as data elements without any structure. As a result typical extensions do not have a fixed format and semantics. In the context of the FP6 Project Super, the SA-MXML (Semantically Annotated Mining eXtensible Markup Language) was developed. Although very powerful, SA-MXML turned out to be too complex and difficult to be implemented by vendors. The WfMC promoted the Business Process Analytics Format (BPAF). However, this is not tailored towards process mining and is not supported by many vendors.

Based on experiences with MXML, the task force is working on a new standard based on XES. Christian G√ľnther (TU/e- Fluxicon) has been the main architect of the format. The format (and earlier versions of it) has been discussed with several of you and provides a major improvement over MXML. See http://www.xes-standard.org/ for more information.

Later postings will detail this further.

One of the important success-factors is that a format is supported by tools. MXML is supported by ProMimport allowing for the extraction of various sources. XES will be supported by XESame (http://prom.win.tue.nl/research/wiki/xesame/start) and the next version of ProM. ProM 6 will read XES files but will be compatible with the older MXML format.