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Distributed on-line safety monitor based on safety assessment model and multi-agent system

Dheedan, Amer Abdaladeem


Amer Abdaladeem Dheedan


Darryl N., 1955 Davis


On-line safety monitoring, i.e. the tasks of fault detection and diagnosis, alarm annunciation, and fault controlling, is essential in the operational phase of critical systems. Over the last 30 years, considerable work in this area has resulted in approaches that exploit models of the normal operational behaviour and failure of a system. Typically, these models incorporate on-line knowledge of the monitored system and enable qualitative and quantitative reasoning about the symptoms, causes and possible effects of faults.

Recently, monitors that exploit knowledge derived from the application of off-line safety assessment techniques have been proposed. The motivation for that work has been the observation that, in current practice, vast amounts of knowledge derived from off-line safety assessments cease to be useful following the certification and deployment of a system. The concept is potentially very useful. However, the monitors that have been proposed so far are limited in their potential because they are monolithic and centralised, and therefore, have limited applicability in systems that have a distributed nature and incorporate large numbers of components that interact collaboratively in dynamic cooperative structures. On the other hand, recent work on multi-agent systems shows that the distributed reasoning paradigm could cope with the nature of such systems.

This thesis proposes a distributed on-line safety monitor which combines the benefits of using knowledge derived from off-line safety assessments with the benefits of the distributed reasoning of the multi-agent system. The monitor consists of a multi-agent system incorporating a number of Belief-Desire-Intention (BDI) agents which operate on a distributed monitoring model that contains reference knowledge derived from off-line safety assessments. Guided by the monitoring model, agents are hierarchically deployed to observe the operational conditions across various levels of the hierarchy of the monitored system and work collaboratively to integrate and deliver safety monitoring tasks. These tasks include detection of parameter deviations, diagnosis of underlying causes, alarm annunciation and application of fault corrective measures. In order to avoid alarm avalanches and latent misleading alarms, the monitor optimises alarm annunciation by suppressing unimportant and false alarms, filtering spurious sensory measurements and incorporating helpful alarm information that is announced at the correct time.

The thesis discusses the relevant literature, describes the structure and algorithms of the proposed monitor, and through experiments, it shows the benefits of the monitor which range from increasing the composability, extensibility and flexibility of on-line safety monitoring to ultimately developing an effective and cost-effective monitor. The approach is evaluated in two case studies and in the light of the results the thesis discusses and concludes both limitations and relative merits compared to earlier safety monitoring concepts.


Dheedan, A. A. (2012). Distributed on-line safety monitor based on safety assessment model and multi-agent system. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Nov 9, 2012
Publicly Available Date Feb 22, 2023
Keywords Computer science
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Computer Science, The University of Hull
Award Date May 1, 2012


Thesis (2.8 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2012 Dheedan, Amer Abdaladeem. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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