Binary decision diagrams for fault tree analysis
This thesis develops a new approach to fault tree analysis, namely the Binary Decision Diagram (BDD) method. Conventional qualitative fault tree analysis techniques such as the "top-down" or "bottom-up" approaches are now so well developed that further refinement is unlikely to result in vast improvements in terms of their computational capability. The BDD method has exhibited potential gains to be made in terms of speed and efficiency in determining the minimal cut sets. Further, the nature of the binary decision diagram is such that it is more suited to Boolean manipulation. The BDD method has been programmed and successfully applied to a number of benchmark fault trees. The analysis capabilities of the technique have been extended such that all quantitative fault tree top event parameters, which can be determined by conventional Kinetic Tree Theory, can now be derived directly from the BDD. Parameters such as the top event probability, frequency of occurrence and expected number of occurrences can be calculated exactly using this method, removing the need for the approximations previously required. Thus the BDD method is proven to have advantages in terms of both accuracy and efficiency. Initiator/enabler event analysis and importance measures have been incorporated to extend this method into a full analysis procedure.