• fault tree analysis;
  • variable ordering schemes;
  • binary decision diagram;
  • priority ordering method

The ordering of basic events is critical to fault tree analysis on the basis of binary decision diagrams (BDDs). Many attempts have been made to seek an efficient ordering result with the aim of reducing the complexity of BDD. In this article, a new ordering method, namely, priority ordering method, is proposed. The new method takes into account not only the effects of the layers of fault tree but also the repeated events, the neighboring events, and the number of events under the same gate. According to these four effects, the priorities that sort the basic events of the fault tree are defined. The new method inherits the merits of structure-based and weight-based methods. It is able to evaluate the basic events on the basis of the structure-based method and the size of the subtree on the basis of the weighted-based method. Demonstrated by the examples, the proposed priority ordering method is superior to the existing ordering methods in terms of reducing the nodes in the BDD and improving the efficiency in transforming a fault tree to a BDD. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.