Keywords:  Alarm systems; false and missed alarms, alarm floods, chattering and nuisance alarms; fault detection and isolation

Alarm Systems: Quantitative Analysis and Design

 A workshop on alarm systems analysis and design will be offered at the IFAC World Congress in Milan, Italy as part of their pre-conference workshop program.

Date of workshop:  28 August 2011

For more information go to:

 Workshop objectives: Overview of new quantitative methods for analysis and design of industrial alarm systems as an emerging research area, targeting academic researchers and industrial practitioners involved in alarm management.

Abstract: Detection of a fault in an industrial plant often results in an alarm to inform the operator. Development of distributed control systems (DCS) has made it easy to add many alarms at no costs. This has caused a substantial increase in the number of alarms configured in a plant (usually in the range of tens of thousands). Consequently, plant operators receive far more alarms than they can handle on a normal basis. Industries reportedly lose millions of dollars every year due to alarm problems. As a result, there has recently been an increasing interest in industry to address this issue and seek remedies to reduce the number of false and nuisance alarms. This workshop is intended to introduce this emerging research topic to the control community (industry and academia alike) and present many recently developed quantitative methods on analysis and design of alarm systems.


Topics to be covered in this workshop will be divided into four sessions (each lasting one-and-half hours each) in this workshop. More details appear below:

Introduction to Alarm Systems

Alarm systems and process monitoring; Historical incidents; False and nuisance alarms; Alarm standards; Alarm systems life cycle; Alarm rationalization; Current status of alarm systems; How to deal with information resources (alarm data, process data, connectivity data).

Alarm Data: Representation, Analysis and Visualization

Introduction to alarm data; Graphical representation; High density alarm plots; Alarm correlation color map; Run-length distributions; Alarm chattering.

Process Data: Optimal Alarm Design

Introduction to process data; Alarm design trade-offs: how to minimize false and missed alarms; ROC curve; Filtering, Deadbands; Delay-timers; Optimal design framework; Detection delays.

Connectivity Data and Process Knowledge

Introduction to process connectivity information and process knowledge; Representation of connectivity data; Signed directed graphs; Process modeling and alarm design; Introduction to alarm floods; Analysis of alarm floods.

 Organizers and Speakers

Dr. Iman Izadi, Honeywell and University of Alberta, Canada

Prof. Tongwen Chen, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alberta, Canada

Prof. Sirish L. Shah, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Alberta, Canada