Petri net is used widely to analyze and model various systems formally. Recently, many Petri nets mania devote their efforts to enhancing and extending the expressive power of Petri nets. One such effort is to extend Petri nets with object-oriented concepts. An object-oriented paradigm provides excellent concepts to model real-world problems. Object-oriented concepts allow us to build software systems easily, intuitively, and naturally. Although several high-level Petri nets with the concept of objects are suggested, these nets do not fully support the object-oriented concepts. In this paper, we propose a hierarchical object-oriented Petri net (HOONet). The formal syntax and semantics of HOONet are explained in detail. HOONet supports a wide range of object-oriented features including abstract, encapsulated and modularized objects, object interaction by message passing, inheritance, and ploymorphism. HOONet also supports a variety of modeling and analysis mechanisms such as incremental modeling of evolving systems, unfolding the HOONet to lower level Petri net, and incremental reachability analysis for HOONet models. We demonstrate the usefulness of HOONet by applying it to modeling and analysis with an example. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.