Safety system design optimisation
This thesis investigates the efficiency of a design optimisation scheme that is appropriate for systems which require a high likelihood of functioning on demand. Traditional approaches to the design of safety critical systems follow the preliminary design, analysis, appraisal and redesign stages until what is regarded as an acceptable design is achieved. For safety systems whose failure could result in loss of life it is imperative that the best use of the available resources is made and a system which is optimal, not just adequate, is produced. The object of the design optimisation problem is to minimise system unavailability through manipulation of the design variables, such that limitations placed on them by constraints are not violated. Commonly, with mathematical optimisation problem; there will be an explicit objective function which defines how the characteristic to be minimised is related to the variables. As regards the safety system problem, an explicit objective function cannot be formulated, and as such, system performance is assessed using the fault tree method. By the use of house events a single fault tree is constructed to represent the failure causes of each potential design to overcome the time consuming task of constructing a fault tree for each design investigated during the optimisation procedure. Once the fault tree has been constructed for the design in question it is converted to a BDD for analysis. A genetic algorithm is first employed to perform the system optimisation, where the practicality of this approach is demonstrated initially through application to a High-Integrity Protection System (HIPS) and subsequently a more complex Firewater Deluge System (FDS). An alternative optimisation scheme achieves the final design specification by solving a sequence of optimisation problems. Each of these problems are defined by assuming some form of the objective function and specifying a sub-region of the design space over which this function will be representative of the system unavailability. The thesis concludes with attention to various optimisation techniques, which possess features able to address difficulties in the optimisation of safety critical systems. Specifically, consideration is given to the use of a statistically designed experiment and a logical search approach.