A Theory of Independent Fuzzy Probability for System Reliability


Fuzzy fault trees provide a powerful and computationally efficient technique for developing fuzzy probabilities based on independent inputs. The probability of any event that can be described in terms of a sequence of independent unions, intersections, and complements may be calculated by a fuzzy fault tree. Unfortunately, fuzzy fault trees do not provide a complete theory: many events of substantial practical interest cannot be described only by independent operations. Thus, the standard fuzzy extension (based on fuzzy fault trees) is not complete since not all events are assigned a fuzzy probability. Other complete extensions have been proposed, but these extensions are not consistent with the calculations from fuzzy fault trees. In this paper, we propose a new extension of crisp probability theory. Our model is based on n independent inputs, each with a fuzzy probability. The elements of our sample space describe exactly which of the n input events did and did not occur. Our extension is complete since a fuzzy probability is assigned to every subset of the sample space. Our extension is also consistent with all calculations that can be arranged as a fault tree. Our approach allows the reliability analyst to develop complete and consistent fuzzy reliability models from existing crisp reliability models. This allows a comprehensive analysis of the system. Computational algorithms are provided both to extend existing models and develop new models. The technique is demonstrated on a reliability model of a three-stage industrial process.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Article - Journal

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© 1999 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.