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A Design Diversity Metric and Analysis of Redundant Systems
May 2002 (vol. 51 no. 5)
pp. 498-510

Redundant systems are designed using multiple copies of the same resource (e.g., a logic network or a software module) in order to increase system dependability. Design diversity has long been used to protect redundant systems from common-mode failures. The conventional notion of diversity relies on independent generation of different implementations. This concept is qualitative and does not provide a basis for comparing the reliabilities of two diverse systems. In this paper, for the first time, we present a metric to quantify diversity among several designs and illustrate its effectiveness using several examples. Applications of this metric in analyzing reliability and availability of diverse redundant systems, and deriving simple relationships between diversity, system failure rate, and mission time are also demonstrated.

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Index Terms:
Error detection, design diversity, common-mode failures, fault-tolerant computing, dependability
S. Mitra, N.R. Saxena, E.J. McCluskey, "A Design Diversity Metric and Analysis of Redundant Systems," IEEE Transactions on Computers, vol. 51, no. 5, pp. 498-510, May 2002, doi:10.1109/TC.2002.1004589
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