Investigation of System Sensitivity to Propagated Configuration Faults

DS 58-2: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 2, Design Theory and Research Methodology, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Nagel, Robert Lewis; Stone, Robert B.; Greer, James L.; McAdams, Daniel A.
Series: ICED
Section: Design Theory and Research Methodology
Page(s): 239-250


Research on the propagation of system faults occurring due to the loss of expected configurations and operations is reported in this paper. A technique known as process analysis is applied to model the activities surrounding a product?s usage to investigate the propagation of faults along flow paths critical to the successful operation of the product. To quantify the sensitivity of the product to the propagated faults, two sensitivity measures are provided: (1) a qualitative rating detailing the model level to which a fault propagates and (2) a quantitative sensitivity metric indicating a percentage of changes that can no longer be performed due to a given fault. Sensitivity metrics provide a gauge to indicate the amount a process is affected by the fault and as a tool to focus redesign efforts. When applied with the propagated failure analysis, the methods allow a designer to evaluate multiple design configurations, determine where unwanted redundancy might exist or where redundancy might be required, and make judgments as to where safety planning might be required to increase system robustness against undesirable faults.

Keywords: Fault propagation, configuration failure, sensitivity, process, function


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