Imprecise Reliability Assessment When the Type of the Probability Distribution of the Random Variables is Unknown
In reliability design, often, there is scarce data for constructing probabilistic models. It is particularly challenging to model uncertainty in variables when the type of their probability distribution is unknown. Moreover, it is expensive to estimate the upper and lower bounds of the reliability of a system involving such variables. A method for modeling uncertainty by using Polynomial Chaos Expansion is presented. The method requires specifying bounds for statistical summaries such as the first four moments and credible intervals. A constrained optimization problem, in which decision variables are the coefficients of the Polynomial Chaos Expansion approximation, is formulated and solved in order to estimate the minimum and maximum values of a system’s reliability. This problem is solved efficiently by employing a probabilistic re-analysis approach to approximate the system reliability as a function of the moments of the random variables.