This paper shows how reliability block diagrams can be used as a decision making tool. The premise behind the idea is that classical decision analysis (DA), while very powerful, does not provide much tractability in assessing utility functions and their use in making decisions. Our recent work has shown that a reliability block diagram which is a visual representation of systems, can be used to describe a decision situation. In decision making, we called these block diagrams decision topologies (DTs). We show that DTs can be used to make engineering decisions just as DA. The paper also proves that in the limit, using DTs is entirely consistent with DA for both single attribute and multi-attribute cases. The main advantages of the proposed method are that (1) it provides a visual representation of a decision situation, and (2) accommodates continuous and binary attributes together, as well as the tradeoff between them. The paper details the theoretical basis of the proposed method and highlights its benefits. An example is used to demonstrate how DTs can be used in practice.

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