Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 82 (7), pp. 992-1004, July 1994.

Predicting the Reliability of Electronic Equipment

M. Pecht and F. Nash


The use of reliability predictions in the design and operation of electronic equipment has been an evolutionary and very controversial process, and over the past decade, reliability prediction methods have been a focal point for a flurry of books, papers, editorials, opinions, special sessions, and workshops.  While it is generally believed that reliability assessment methods should be used to aid in product design and development, the integrity and auditability of the reliability prediction methods have been found to be questionable; in that, the models do not predict field failures, cannot be used for comparative purposes, and present misleading trends and relations.  This paper discusses the role of reliability prediction and assessment in design, development, and deployment of electronic equipment; overviews the history of reliability predictions for electronics; discusses the advantages and disadvantages of some current methods; and presents some of the key research questions which need to be addressed.

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