Journal of Systems Engineering and Electronics

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Reliability analysis of monotone coherent multi-state systems based on Bayesian networks

Binghua Song1, Zhongbao Zhou1, Chaoqun Ma1, Jinglun Zhou2, and Shaofeng Geng3   

  1. 1. School of Business Administration, Hunan University, Changsha 410082, China;
    2. School of Information System and Management, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha 410073, China;
    3. College of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, Hunan University, Changsha 410082, China
  • Online:2016-12-20 Published:2010-01-03


The Bayesian networks (BNs) provide a robust probabilistic method of reasoning under uncertainty and have been successfully applied to a variety of real-world tasks. Aiming to explore the capabilities of the BN formalism in reliability analysis of monotone coherent multi-state systems, the BNs are compared with a popular tool for reliability analysis of monotone coherent multi-state systems, namely the multi-state fault trees (MFTs). It is shown that any MFT can be directly mapped into BN and the basic inference techniques on the latter may be used to obtain classical parameters computed from the former (i.e. probability distribution of top variable, minimal upper vectors and maximum lower vectors for any performance level, importance measures of components). Furthermore, some additional information can be obtained by using BN, both at the modeling and analysis level. At the modeling level, several restrictive assumptions implicit in the MFT methodology can be removed and various kinds of dependencies among components can be accommodated. At the analysis level, a general diagnostic analysis can be performed. The comparison of these methods is illustrated by an example of the water supply system.