Multi-state k-out-of-n system and their performance evaluation

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-44
Journal / PublicationIIE Transactions (Institute of Industrial Engineers)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009


The k-out-of-n system structure is a very popular type of redundancy in fault-tolerant systems, with wide applications in both industrial and military systems. In this paper, the modeling, application and reliability evaluation of k-out-of-n systems are studied for the case where the components and the system have multiple performance levels. A multi-state k-out-of-n system model is proposed that allows different requirements on the number of components for different state levels, and, very importantly, more practical engineering systems can fit into this model. The multiple states in the model can be interpreted in two ways: (i) multiple levels of capacity; and (ii) multiple failure modes. Application examples of the proposed multi-state k-out-of-n system model are given under each of the interpretations. An approach is presented for efficient reliability evaluation of multi-state k-out-of-n systems with identically and independently distributed components. A recursive algorithm is proposed for reliability evaluation of multi-state k-out-of-n systems with independent components. Efficiency investigations show that both of the reliability evaluation approaches are efficient. The multi-state k-out-of-n system model with a constant k value, which is a special case of the general multi-state k-out-of-n system model, has been studied for a long time, but only on the theoretical stage. A practical application of this model is presented in this paper as well. © 2009 "IIE".

Research Area(s)

  • Failure modes, K-out-of-n, Multi-state system, Performance levels, Reliability evaluation