This article presents the US Geological Survey computer program UCODE, which was developed in collaboration with the US Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station and the International Ground Water Modeling Center of the Colorado School of Mines. UCODE performs inverse modeling, posed as a parameter-estimation problem, using nonlinear regression. Any application model or set of models can be used; the only requirement is that they have numerical (ASCII or text only) input and output files and that the numbers in these files have sufficient significant digits. Application models can include preprocessors and postprocessors as well as models related to the processes of interest (physical, chemical and so on), making UCODE extremely powerful for model calibration. Estimated parameters can be defined flexibly with user-specified functions. Observations to be matched in the regression can be any quantity for which a simulated equivalent value can be produced, thus simulated equivalent values are calculated using values that appear in the application model output files and can be manipulated with additive and multiplicative functions, if necessary. Prior, or direct, information on estimated parameters also can be included in the regression. The nonlinear regression problem is solved by minimizing a weighted least-squares objective function with respect to the parameter values using a modified Gauss-Newton method. Sensitivities needed for the method are calculated approximately by forward or central differences and problems and solutions related to this approximation are discussed. Statistics are calculated and printed for use in (1) diagnosing inadequate data or identifying parameters that probably cannot be estimated with the available data, (2) evaluating estimated parameter values, (3) evaluating the model representation of the actual processes and (4) quantifying the uncertainty of model simulated values. UCODE is intended for use on any computer operating system: it consists of algorithms programmed in perl, a freeware language designed for text manipulation and Fortran90, which efficiently performs numerical calculations.
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UCODE, a computer code for universal inverse modeling