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The Reliability of Life-Critical Computer System



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Acta Informatica 23 621 642 1986 9 Springer Verlag1986 The Reliability of Life Critical Computer Systems Robert Geist 1 Mark Smotherman 1 Kishor Trivedi 2 and Joanne Bechta Dugan2 1 Department of Computer Science Clemson University Clemson SC 29631 USA 2 Department of Computer Science Duke University Durham NC 27706 USA Summary In order to aid the designers of life critical fault tolerant computing systems accurate and efficient methods for reliability prediction are needed The accuracy requirement implies the need to model the system in great detail and hence the need to address the problems of large state space non exponential distributions and error analysis The efficiency requirement implies the need for new model solution techniques in particular the use of decomposition aggregation in the context of a hybrid model We describe a model for reliability prediction which meets both requirements Specifically our model is partitioned into fault occurrence and fault error handling submodels which are represented by non homogeneous Markov processes and extended stochastic Petri nets respectively The overall aggregated model is a stochastic process that is solved by numerical techniques Methods to analyze the effects of variations in input parameters on the resulting reliability predictions are also provided 1 Introduction Fault tolerant computer systems that is systems capable of continued correct operation in the presence of either operational or design faults are experiencing an ever increasing range of important applications 2 When these applications are life critical such as in flight control fault tolerance becomes the vehicle used to enhance system reliability that is the probability that the system will remain operational throughout the mission time Nevertheless the extensive reliability demands placed upon these life critical systems reliability 1 1 0 9 preclude simple procedures by which we might verify that the systems possess the level of reliability for



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