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REVIEW: "Systems Reliability and Failure Prevention", Herbert Hecht

Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor
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"Systems Reliability and Failure Prevention", Herbert Hecht, 2004,
1-58053-372-8, U$79.00
%A Herbert Hecht
%C 685 Canton St., Norwood, MA 02062
%D 2004
%G 1-58053-372-8
%I Artech House/Horizon
%O U$79.00 800-225-9977 fax: +1-617-769-6334 Removed)
%P 230 p.
%T "Systems Reliability and Failure Prevention"

Chapter one is a very brief introduction: almost a preface. Basic
statistical measures of failure and service are described in chapter
two. "Organizational Causes of Failures," in chapter three, tells
stories of some major disasters, but provides no structural
recommendations. Chapter four looks at analytical approaches to
failure prevention, covering the failure modes and effects analysis
(FMEA) and fault tree analysis (FTA) methods that should be more
widely used in general risk assessment. The discussion of testing
types, purposes, and analysis, in chapter five, raises some very
interesting questions: if a thousand versions of a part are tested for
a thousand hours and only one fails, does this *really* support the
vendor's assertion that the mean time between failures (MTBF) is a
million hours--or is it equally possible that all of them start
failing shortly after a thousand hours, and one failed early? Factors
such as partitioning, involved in implementing redundancy in a system,
are reviewed in chapter six. The material on software reliability, in
chapter seven, is rather disappointing: there is still an evident
hardware bias, little deliberation regarding the nature of software,
and the techniques for stability are limited to UML (Universal
Modeling Language) analysis, which is, itself, only suitable to
object-oriented tasks. Chapter eight looks at the project life cycle,
the preferred development models, reliability activities in various
phases, testing, and reviews. In chapter nine Hecht addresses
economic considerations in preventing versus accepting failures with a
good deal of math: a more practical illustration is provided in
chapter ten. Chapter eleven uses the techniques explained in the book
in three example cases.

For those involved in risk analysis and operation continuity work,
this text is a tutorial for a number of engineering principles that
are not widely discussed in the available literature. However, there
are a multitude of topics that sound interesting and useful, but are
not presented in sufficient detail to be useful to the non-engineering
professional. For those in the field, the book will definitely be
worth reading, but it probably could have provided much more
assistance to those in the safety and security field.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 2004 BKSYRLFP.RVW 20040531

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