A computer program for uncertainty analysis integrating regression and Bayesian methods

Environmental Modelling and Software
By: , and 



This work develops a new functionality in UCODE_2014 to evaluate Bayesian credible intervals using the Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method. The MCMC capability in UCODE_2014 is based on the FORTRAN version of the differential evolution adaptive Metropolis (DREAM) algorithm of Vrugt et al. (2009), which estimates the posterior probability density function of model parameters in high-dimensional and multimodal sampling problems. The UCODE MCMC capability provides eleven prior probability distributions and three ways to initialize the sampling process. It evaluates parametric and predictive uncertainties and it has parallel computing capability based on multiple chains to accelerate the sampling process. This paper tests and demonstrates the MCMC capability using a 10-dimensional multimodal mathematical function, a 100-dimensional Gaussian function, and a groundwater reactive transport model. The use of the MCMC capability is made straightforward and flexible by adopting the JUPITER API protocol. With the new MCMC capability, UCODE_2014 can be used to calculate three types of uncertainty intervals, which all can account for prior information: (1) linear confidence intervals which require linearity and Gaussian error assumptions and typically 10s–100s of highly parallelizable model runs after optimization, (2) nonlinear confidence intervals which require a smooth objective function surface and Gaussian observation error assumptions and typically 100s–1,000s of partially parallelizable model runs after optimization, and (3) MCMC Bayesian credible intervals which require few assumptions and commonly 10,000s–100,000s or more partially parallelizable model runs. Ready access allows users to select methods best suited to their work, and to compare methods in many circumstances.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A computer program for uncertainty analysis integrating regression and Bayesian methods
Series title Environmental Modelling and Software
DOI 10.1016/j.envsoft.2014.06.002
Volume 60
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, National Research Program - Central Branch
Description 12 p.
First page 45
Last page 56
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