A Bottom-Up Algorithm for Finding Minimal Cut-Sets of Fault Trees

B. Clark and G. Reza-Latif-Shabgahi (UK)


. Reliability, Fault Tree, Minimal Cut Set Algorithm, MOCUS, and Binary Decision Diagram.


The computing time required to determine the minimal cut-sets of a fault tree can be so large that they are impractical to compute. This paper describes a straightforward algorithm that implements the well known 'bottom-up' technique for determining the minimal cut-sets of a fault tree. It can be implemented mainly in assembly language code to minimise the computation time. In the algorithm, data representing the cut-sets of all intermediate events in the fault tree is coded in binary form and the data manipulation is mostly carried out through the use of Boolean AND, OR and EXOR functions. One of the key features of this algorithm is that it identifies the minimal cut-sets, MCSs, of each intermediate event. This feature enables the user to identify the intermediate events most likely to cause subsystem failure, and thus simplifies the monitoring, diagnosis, and repair of the system. This is the first phase in the development of the novel algorithm. In the next phase the algorithm will be implemented and compared with the widely used bottom-up MOCUS algorithm. To support this work, literature on fault tree analysis has been surveyed, and the analysis methods classified.

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