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Improving the analysis of dependable systems by mapping fault trees into Bayesian networks
Bayesian Networks (BN) provide a robust probabilistic method of reasoning under uncertainty. They have been successfully applied in a variety of real-world tasks but they have received little attention in the area of dependability. The present paper is aimed at exploring the capabilities of the BN formalism in the analysis of dependable systems. To this end, the paper compares BN with one of the most popular techniques for dependability analysis of large, safety critical systems, namely Fault Trees (FT). The paper shows that any FT can be directly mapped into a BN and that basic inference techniques on the latter may be used to obtain classical parameters computed from the former (i.e. reliability of the Top Event or of any sub-system, criticality of components, etc). Moreover, by using BN, some additional power can be obtained, both at the modeling and at the analysis level. At the modeling level, several restrictive assumptions implicit in the FT methodology can be removed and various kinds of dependencies among components can be accommodated. At the analysis level, a general diagnostic analysis can be performed. The comparison of the two methodologies is carried out by means of a running example, taken from the literature, that consists of a redundant multiprocessor system.