Addressing the dependency problem in access security system architecture design

John E. Kobza, Sheldon H. Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this research is to present a method for evaluating the performance of access control security systems, such as airport security operations. This requires the examination of security system architectures, which involve security technology devices and the algorithms that coordinate their operations. Dependence between device responses in multiple-device systems is a critical practical issue in assessing the performance of such architectures, though no results on this problem have appeared in the literature. This paper presents a method for evaluating when multiple-device security systems with overlapping capabilities are cost-effective. This is achieved using a dependency structure for security system devices to quantify how various technologies interact and to measure the impact of device dependence on system error probabilities. A measure of device response dependence for a two-device system is defined and its properties are explored, including bounds on the dependency measure. The effect of dependence on the system Type I and Type II error probabilities is examined for the two-device system. System performance is compared for independent vs. dependent device responses and desirable dependence relationships are identified. Results are also presented for a cascading sequence of devices. An example is presented to illustrate the results for the two-device system. Implications of these results are discussed, such as how they can be used to identify the optimal use of security devices and to determine whether new technologies warrant investment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-812
Number of pages12
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Probability
  • dependency measures
  • false alarm
  • false clear
  • security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)


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