A heuristic for solving the redundancy allocation problem for multi-state series-parallel systems

Jose E. Ramirez-Marquez, David W. Coit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


The redundancy allocation problem is formulated with the objective of minimizing design cost, when the system exhibits a multi-state reliability behavior, given system-level performance constraints. When the multi-state nature of the system is considered, traditional solution methodologies are no longer valid. This study considers a multi-state series-parallel system (MSPS) with capacitated binary components that can provide different multi-state system performance levels. The different demand levels, which must be supplied during the system-operating period, result in the multi-state nature of the system. The new solution methodology offers several distinct benefits compared to traditional formulations of the MSPS redundancy allocation problem. For some systems, recognizing that different component versions yield different system performance is critical so that the overall system reliability estimation and associated design models the true system reliability behavior more realistically. The MSPS design problem, solved in this study, has been previously analyzed using genetic algorithms (GAs) and the universal generating function. The specific problem being addressed is one where there are multiple component choices, but once a component selection is made, only the same component type can be used to provide redundancy. This is the first time that the MSPS design problem has been addressed without using GAs. The heuristic offers more efficient and straightforward analyses. Solutions to three different problem types are obtained illustrating the simplicity and ease of application of the heuristic without compromising the intended optimization needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-349
Number of pages9
JournalReliability Engineering and System Safety
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


  • Heuristic
  • Multi-state series-parallel system
  • Redundancy allocation problem


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