Calculating the probability of “undesirable events ” often involves analyzing the various ways equipment can fail. Today, Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) is by far the most commonly used tool for qualitative and quantitative risk analyses. FTA was introduced in 1962 at Bell Labs, and for about twenty years was the “de facto ” standard of the engineering community. Starting in the early 80s, a group of NASA mathematicians performed studies that clearly exposed some very subtle FTAlimitations. In an effort to overcome these limitations, NASA developed algorithms using Markov Analysis (MA), designed not necessarily to replace, but to support FTAs. MAwas introduced in 1907 by a Russian mathematician by the name of A.A. Markov. It is interesting to note that although this knowledge has been around for some time, it is only recently that the engineering community has taken advantage of this science. For example, within the past three years or so, NASA has been using Markov methods for probabilistic risk assessments for the Shuttle systems. In addition, FTAand Reliability Software manufacturers have integrated Markov techniques into their risk assessment software programs. With respect to reliability and risk assessment, the integration of MAwith FTAhas been a giant step forward. Engineers can now solve more accurately a larger set of “risk ” problems than they could before. However, due to a lack of documentation written in a clear common language, knowledge of MAstill remains a little “sketchy ” within the engineering community. Objective This article is not intended to be a “how to solve” tutorial even though it will reveal some details. Its objective is simply to raise the level of awareness of Markov Analysis, what it is, why it is By: Vito Faraci Jr., BAE Systems required, and what it does. To this end, several illustrative examples will be presented. The topics to be discussed are
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