System Topology Identification with Limited Test Data 2012-01-0064
In this article we present an approach to identify the system topology using simulation for reliability calculations. The system topology provides how all components in a system are functionally connected. Most reliability engineering literature assumes that either the system topology is known and therefore all failure modes can be deduced or if the system topology is not known we are only interested in identifying the dominant failure modes. The authors contend that we should try to extract as much information about the system topology from failure or success information of a system as possible. This will not only identify the dominant failure modes but will also provide an understanding of how the components are functionally connected, allowing for more complicated analyses, if needed. We use an evolutionary approach where system topologies are generated at random and then tested against failure or success data. The topologies evolve based on how consistent they are with test data. We demonstrate the proposed methodology by approximately identifying the topology of an electric motor.