Version 5.1 Rev. 1

(August 2007)


This document describes SymCure Version 5.1 Rev. 1.

What is SymCure?

Fault management plays a vital role across a broad spectrum of commercial and industrial applications, ranging from service level management and telecommunications network management in the Information Technology (IT) world, to abnormal condition management in manufacturing, chemical, oil and gas industries. The size and complexity of these applications often necessitates automated expert system support for fault management. A small number of root cause problems in IT communication networks often result in a large number of messages and alarms that cannot be handled by human operators in real time. Failure to identify and repair the root cause problems results in increased system downtime and poor service levels. Abnormal conditions in manufacturing and processing plants may result in unplanned shutdowns, equipment damage, safety hazards, reduced productivity, and poor quality products. A study funded by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) estimates that in the absence of adequate fault management, billions of dollars are spent in addressing the problems caused by equipment failure, degradation, process drift, and operator overload.

Fault management across these industries shares some common goals, such as improving application availability and utilization, reducing operator overload, and minimizing operation costs. In order to achieve these goals, it is necessary to develop fault management tools with the following capabilities.

SymCure (derived from "Symptom Cure") is a tool that addresses a number of fault management functions, including diagnosis, correlation, prediction, testing, automated recovery and notification. It provides a powerful object oriented model-based framework to specify, organize and store diagnosis knowledge in the form of a persistent, generic (i.e., class-level), graphical, fault propagation model library. It performs diagnosis and impact analysis by combining the fault propagation models with specific domain information and asynchronous incoming events at run time. Its reasoning process is capable of detecting and resolving multiple concurrent system failures. It integrates diagnostic reasoning, testing, and repair to provide a powerful set of fault management capabilities. It notifies the results of its diagnostic reasoning to external systems using messages and other suitable means. SymCure's fault models are generic, so they do not require any reconfiguration whenever there are changes in equipment, system topology, or system operating modes and they can be reused easily in different applications. SymCure's methodology is domain independent and it has been used for fault management in diverse applications across different industries, including abnormal condition management for heaters and service management for enterprise wide software systems .

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