In the past few decades, a great number of hardware and software reliability models have been proposed to address hardware failures in hardware subsystems and software failures in software subsystems, respectively. The interactions between hardware and software subsystems are often neglected in order to simplify reliability modeling, and hence, most existing reliability models assumed hardware subsystems and software subsystem are independent of each other. However, this may not be true in reality. In this study, system failures are classified into three categories, which are hardware failures, software failures, and hardware-software interaction failures. The main contribution of our research is that we further classify hardware-software interaction failures into two groups: software-induced hardware failures and hardware-induced software failures. A Markov-based unified system reliability modeling incorporating all three categories of system failures is developed in this research, which provides a novel and practical perspective to define system failures and further improve reliability prediction accuracy. Comparison of system reliability estimation between the reliability models with and without considering hardware-software interactions is elucidated in the numerical example. The impacts on system reliability prediction as the changes of transition parameters are also illustrated by the numerical examples.
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