A dynamic discretization method for reliability inference in Dynamic Bayesian Networks


The material and modeling parameters that drive structural reliability analysis for marine structures are subject to a significant uncertainty. This is especially true when time-dependent degradation mechanisms such as structural fatigue cracking are considered. Through inspection and monitoring, information such as crack location and size can be obtained to improve these parameters and the corresponding reliability estimates. Dynamic Bayesian Networks (DBNs) are a powerful and flexible tool to model dynamic system behavior and update reliability and uncertainty analysis with life cycle data for problems such as fatigue cracking. However, a central challenge in using DBNs is the need to discretize certain types of continuous random variables to perform network inference while still accurately tracking low-probability failure events. Most existing discretization methods focus on getting the overall shape of the distribution correct, with less emphasis on the tail region. Therefore, a novel scheme is presented specifically to estimate the likelihood of low-probability failure events. The scheme is an iterative algorithm which dynamically partitions the discretization intervals at each iteration. Through applications to two stochastic crack-growth example problems, the algorithm is shown to be robust and accurate. Comparisons are presented between the proposed approach and existing methods for the discretization problem.

Reliability Engineering & System Safety