Proactive Adaption of Business Processes via Online Reinforcement Learning

Adapt or wait and see? Andreas Metzger, Tristan Kley and Alexander Palm present an AI based approach to determine when preditions are accurate enough to trigger adaptions.

The approach and the underlying research will be presented in September at the 18th Int. Conference on Business Process Management.

Andreas Metzger, Tristan Kley, and Alexander Palm: "Triggering Proactive Business Process Adaptations via Online Reinforcement Learning"


Proactive process adaptation can prevent and mitigate upcoming problems during process execution by using predictions about how an ongoing case will unfold up to its completion. There is an important trade-off with respect to these predictions: Earlier predictions leave more time for adaptations than later predictions, but earlier predictions typically have lower accuracy than later predictions, because not much information about the ongoing case is available. An emerging solution to address this trade-off is to continuously generate predictions and only trigger proactive adaptations when prediction reliability is greater than a predefined threshold. However, a good threshold is not known a priori. One solution is to empirically determine the threshold using a subset of the training data. While an empirical threshold may be optimal for the specific training data used and the given cost structure, such a threshold may not be optimal over time due to non-stationarity of process environments, data, and cost structures. Here, we use online reinforcement learning as an alternative solution to learn when to trigger proactive process adaptations based on the predictions and their reliability at run time. Experimental results for three public data sets indicate that our approach may on average lead to 8% lower process execution costs when compared to empirical thresholding.

Contact: Andreas Metzger, Email: andreas.metzger(at), Tel. +49 201 18-34650