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This paper presents the formal syntax and the operational semantics of Taverna, a workflow management system with a large user base among the e-Science community. Such formal foundation, which has so far been lacking, opens the way to the translation between Taverna workflows and other process models. In particular, the ability to automatically compile a simple domain-specific process description into Taverna facilitates its adoption by e-scientists who are not expert workflow developers. We demonstrate this potential through a practical use case.