Quality and Reliability Engineering International

Identification of Pivotal Causes and Spreaders in the Time‐Varying Fault Propagation Model to Improve the Decision Making under Abnormal Situation

Journal Article

Under abnormal conditions, timely and effective decisions of system recovery and protective measures are of great significance for safety‐critical systems. The knowledge of the roles that network nodes play in the spreading process is crucial for developing efficient maintenance decisions; for singling out and preferential control, the ‘pivotal spreaders’ may be a way to maximize the chances to timely hinder the fault pervasion. Inspired by the inhomogeneous topological nature of a complex fault propagation network, this study is devoted to exploring the spreading capabilities of nodes regarding both structural connectivity and causal influence strength, so as to provide decisions of preferential recovery actions under specific fault scenarios. Specifically, the dynamic betweenness centrality and nonsymmetrical entropy are incorporated to adaptively measure the system‐wide fault diffusion risk of a set of controllable fault events. In order to model the dynamics and uncertainties involved in the complex fault spreading process, we introduce the model of a dynamic uncertain causality graph, based on which solutions of time‐varying structure decomposition and causality reduction are adopted to improve the reasoning efficiency. Verification experiments consisting of simulated calculation cases and generator faults of a nuclear power plant show empirically the effectiveness and applicability of this method in large‐scale engineering practice. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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