Integrating probabilistic design and rare event simulation into the requirements engineering process to analyze risk problems in high reliability systems

Graham, Kristin C., Systems & Information Engineering, University of Virginia
White, K. Preston, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Scherer, William, EN-SIE, University of Virginia
Learmonth, Gerard, School of Medicine, University of Virginia

Significant overlap exists in the technical literature concerning probabilistic design and rare event simulation, both of which share roots in the analysis of complex engineering design problems. Despite this logical overlap, the discussion of these disciplines remains disunited. Early in their programs, systems engineers must determine reliability and availability goals, but the techniques needed to accomplish this efficiently have yet to be incorporated into the existing systems engineering framework. In high reliability systems, where failure occurs in limited instances, implementing techniques already used in rare event simulation allows systems engineers to better analyze the behavior of the system during a failure event, and implementing probabilistic design techniques helps them better determine when such a failure event might occur. These versatile techniques give engineers new insight into the system they are constructing and enable them to avoid costly course adjustments once the system is already implemented. Through the analysis of these techniques and implementation in a proof of concept problem involving a high reliability naval mission system, this thesis demonstrates how potentially extreme repercussions of a failure event in a system with high reliability can be identified and addressed early in the design process rather than in later development and implementation.

MS (Master of Science)
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