An efficient method for reliability evaluation of multistate networks given all minimal path vectors
The multistate networks under consideration consist of a source node, a sink node, and some independent failure-prone components in between the nodes. The components can work at different levels of capacity. For such a network, we are interested in evaluating the probability that the flow from the source node to the sink node is equal to or greater than a demanded flow of d units. A general method for reliability evaluation of such multistate networks is using minimal path (cut) vectors. A
... ut) vectors. A minimal path vector to system state d is called a d-MP. Approaches for generating all d-MPs have been reported. Given that all d-MPs have been found, the issue becomes how to evaluate the probability of the union of the events that the component state vector is greater than or equal to at least one of the d-MPs. There is a need for a more efficient method of determining the probability of this union of events. In this paper, we report an efficient recursive algorithm for this union probability evaluation based on the Sum of Disjoint Products (SDP) principle, and name it the Recursive Sum of Disjoint Products (RSDP) algorithm. The basic idea is that, based on the SDP principle and a specially defined "maximum" operator, "⊕", the probability of a union with L vectors can be calculated via calculating the probabilities of several unions with L − 1 vectors or less. The correctness of RSDP is illustrated. The efficiency of this algorithm is investigated by comparing it with an existing algorithm that is generally accepted to be efficient. It is found that RSDP is more efficient than the existing algorithm when the number of components of a system is not too small. RSDP provides us with an efficient, systematic and simple approach for evaluating multistate network reliability given all d-MPs.