Prioritizing system-reliability prediction improvements

David W. Coit, Tongdan Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This method prioritizes system-reliability prediction activities once a preliminary reliability-prediction has been made. System-reliability predictions often use data and models from a variety of sources, each with differing degrees of estimation uncertainty. Since time and budgetary constraints limit the extent of analyzes and testing needed to estimate component reliability, it is necessary to allocate limited resources intelligently. A Reliability-Prediction Prioritization Index (RPPI) is defined to provide a relative ranking of components based on their potential for improving the accuracy of a system-level reliability prediction by decreasing the variance of the system-reliability estimate. If a component has a high RPPI, then additional testing or analysis should be considered to decrease the variance of the component reliability estimate. RPPI is based on a decomposition of the variance of the system-reliability or on a mean-time-to-failure estimate. Using these indexes, the effect of individual components within the system can be compared, ranked, and assigned to priority groups. The ranking is based on whether a decrease of the component-reliability estimate variance meaningfully decreases the system-reliability estimate variance. The procedure is demonstrated with two examples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Reliability
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Estimation variance
  • Reliability prediction
  • Variance decomposition


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