The non-stationary gamma process is a non-decreasing stochastic process with independent increments. By this monotonic behavior this stochastic process serves as a natural candidate for modelling time-dependent phenomena such as degradation. In condition-based maintenance the first time such a process exceeds a random threshold is used as a model for the lifetime of a device or for the random time between two successive imperfect maintenance actions. Therefore there is a need to investigate in detail the cumulative distribution function (cdf) of this so-called randomized hitting time. We first relate the cdf of the (randomized) hitting time of a non-stationary gamma process to the cdf of a related hitting time of a stationary gamma process. Even for a stationary gamma process this cdf has in general no elementary formula and its evaluation is time-consuming. Hence two approximations are proposed in this paper and both have a clear probabilistic interpretation. Numerical experiments show that these approximations are easy to evaluate and their accuracy depends on the scale parameter of the non-stationary gamma process. Finally, we also consider some special cases of randomized hitting times for which it is possible to give an elementary formula for its cdf.

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Econometric Institute Research Papers
Report / Econometric Institute, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus School of Economics

Frenk, J.B.G, & Nicolai, R.P. (2007). Approximating the randomized hitting time distribution of a non-stationary gamma process (No. EI 2007-18). Report / Econometric Institute, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from