In this age of increasingly complex systems, the rapidly multiplying costs of unreliability have become an important problem to manufacturer, consumer, and government. At the same time, however, the cost of failure prevention is increasing relative to the total cost of the system. The cost of failure prevention is comprised of the costs of implementing one or more elements of reliability: redundancy, environmental design and environmental testing. Existing approaches to these elements of reliability, while capable of optimizing one element, sub-optimize the system because they do not synthesize all three on a benefit/cost basis.
The main emphasis of this paper is the conceptualization and development of a computerized comprehensive methodology. The methodology synthesizes the elements of reliability to provide the decision making organization with the capability to simultaneously evaluate the risk to the system, and the optimal allocation of resources to the elements of reliability, both as a function of budget over a broad range of dollar budgets.