Foreword: Special issue on statistical reliability and maintenance modeling


On December 2010, the Fourth Asia-Pacific International Symposium on Advanced Reliability and Maintenance Modeling was held in Wellington, New Zealand. It attracted participants from countries such as Australia, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, UK, USA, and others. In this three-day symposium, researchers, scientists, and practitioners from different parts of the world were brought together to discuss the state of research and practice in reliability and maintainability. They identified important and challenging problems and worked together to discover possible solutions. Many new collaborations and research projects were initiated.

In this special issue/section, we focus on statistical reliability and maintenance modeling in business and industry. We believe that each paper makes a useful contribution from a theoretical and/or practical viewpoint.

This special issue/section consists of extended versions of papers presented at the Fourth Asia-Pacific International Symposium on Advanced Reliability and Maintenance Modeling. It includes studies on age replacement/minimal repair policies for systems with random working times, semi-unified approach in constructing lifetime (aging) distributions, improved expectation–maximization algorithm for phase-type distributions with grouped and truncated data, identifying the optimal maintenance policy for non-renewing replacement–repair post-warranty period from users' point of view, and warranty/upgrade issues for second-hand products.

Also, this special issue/section consists of a review/tutorial paper on methods and approaches for availability assessment of commercial systems. This paper reviews non-state space, state-space, and hierarchical availability models. It provides a useful guide for availability assessment through a number of case studies and shows the usefulness of stochastic modeling for quantifying system availability. The review/tutorial paper is followed up by two discussion papers and a rejoinder.

We express our gratitude to Prof. Fabrizio Ruggeri, the Editor-in-Chief for the Applied Stochastic Models in Business and Industry journal, whose guidance and cooperation encouraged our work on the special issue/section and led to its publication.