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Reasoning about the Reliability of Diverse Two-Channel Systems in which One Channel is "Possibly Perfect"

Littlewood, B. & Rushby, J. (2011). Reasoning about the Reliability of Diverse Two-Channel Systems in which One Channel is "Possibly Perfect". IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, doi: 10.1109/TSE.2011.80


This paper considers the problem of reasoning about the reliability of fault-tolerant systems with two "channels" (i.e., components) of which one, A, supports only a claim of reliability, while the other, B, by virtue of extreme simplicity and extensive analysis, supports a plausible claim of "perfection." We begin with the case where either channel can bring the system to a safe state. We show that, conditional upon knowing pA (the probability that A fails on a randomly selected demand) and pB (the probability that channel B is imperfect), a conservative bound on the probability that the system fails on a randomly selected demand is simply pA.pB. That is, there is conditional independence between the events "A fails" and "B is imperfect." The second step of the reasoning involves epistemic uncertainty about (pA, pB) and we show that under quite plausible assumptions, a conservative bound on system pfd can be constructed from point estimates for just three parameters. We discuss the feasibility of establishing credible estimates for these parameters. We extend our analysis from faults of omission to those of commission, and then combine these to yield an analysis for monitored architectures of a kind proposed for aircraft.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Correctness proofs, Fault tolerance, Reliability, Safety, software reliability
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science > Software Reliability
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