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Algorithms have been available for exact performance evaluation of multi-state k-out-of-n systems. However, especially for complex systems with a large number of components, and a large number of possible states, obtaining "reliability bounds" would be an interesting, significant issue. Reliability bounds will give us a range of the system reliability in a much shorter computation time, which allow us to make decisions more efficiently. The systems under consideration are multi-state k-out-of-n systems with i.i.d. components. We will focus on the probability of the system in states below a certain state d, denoted by Qsd. Based on the recursive algorithm proposed by Zuo & Tian  for performance evaluation of multi-state k-out-of-n systems with i.i.d. components, a reliability bounding approach is developed in this paper. The upper, and lower bounds of Qsd are calculated by reducing the length of the k vector when using the recursive algorithm. Using the bounding approach, we can obtain a good estimate of the exact Qsd value while significantly reducing the computation time. This approach is attractive, especially to complex systems with a large number of components, and a large number of possible states. A numerical example is used to illustrate the significance of the proposed bounding approach.
Date of Publication: March 2008