A generic physics-informed neural network-based framework for reliability assessment of multi-state systems

Taotao Zhou, Xiaoge Zhang (Corresponding Author), Enrique Lopez Droguett, Ali Mosleh

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we develop a generic physics-informed neural network (PINN)-based framework to assess the reliability of multi-state systems (MSSs). The proposed framework follows a two-step procedure. In the first step, we recast the reliability assessment of MSS as a machine learning problem using the framework of PINN. A feedforward neural network with two individual loss groups is constructed to encode the initial condition and the state transitions governed by ordinary differential equations in MSS, respectively. Next, we tackle the problem of high imbalance in the magnitudes of back-propagated gradients from a multi-task learning perspective and establish a continuous latent function for system reliability assessment. Particularly, we regard each element of the loss function as an individual learning task and project a task's gradient onto the norm plane of any other task with a conflicting gradient by taking the projecting conflicting gradients (PCGrad) method. We demonstrate the applications of the proposed framework for MSS reliability assessment in a variety of scenarios, including time-independent or dependent state transitions, where system scales increase from small to medium. The computational results indicate that PINN-based framework reveals a promising performance in MSS reliability assessment and incorporation of PCGrad into PINN substantially improves the solution quality and convergence speed of the algorithm.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108835
JournalReliability Engineering and System Safety
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Gradient projection
  • Markov process
  • Multi-state systems
  • Physics-informed neural network
  • Reliability assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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