Switching-Algebraic Analysis of Multi-State System Reliability

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Ali Muhammad Ali Rushdi
Mohamed AbdulRahman Al-Amoudi


Multi-State systems are systems whose outputs are multi-valued (due to multiple levels of capacity or performance) and (possibly) whose inputs are also multi-valued (due to multiple performance levels or multiple modes of failure). These systems are a generalization of binary or dichotomous systems that have binary or two-valued outputs and inputs. The multi-state reliability model generalizes and adapts many of the concepts and techniques of the binary reliability model, and naturally ends up with sophisticated concepts and techniques of its own. This paper explores the possibility of simply analyzing a multi-state system by reformulating or encoding its inputs in terms of binary inputs and evaluating each of its multiple output levels as an individual binary output of these alternative inputs. This means that we dispense with multiple-valued logic in the analysis of a multi-state system, since this system is now analyzed solely via switching algebra (two-valued Boolean algebra). The wealth of tools and techniques of switching algebra are now used (without any modification or adaptation) in the analysis of the multi-state system (at the cost of an expanded input domain). The paper makes its point though the analysis of a standard commodity-supply system, whose multi-valued inputs are expressed in terms of physically-meaningfully binary inputs. The analysis is made possible through the use of advanced techniques for deriving probability–ready expressions together with the employment of large-size Karnaugh maps and utilization of multiplication tables, symmetric switching functions, and Boolean quotients. Though the system studied involves twelve binary input variables, its manual analysis is completed successfully herein, yielding results that exactly agree with those obtained earlier via automated methods, and are possibly less prone to the notorious effects of round-off errors.

System reliability, probability-ready expression, k-out-of-n, switching–algebraic analysis, multi-state system, binary system, Boolean quotient, eight-variable Karnaugh map.

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How to Cite
Rushdi, A. M., & Al-Amoudi, M. (2019). Switching-Algebraic Analysis of Multi-State System Reliability. Journal of Engineering Research and Reports, 3(3), 1-22. https://doi.org/10.9734/jerr/2018/v3i316877
Original Research Article