2016 Uncertainty Quantification in Computational Models of Physical Systems

By Habib Najm

Sandia National Laboratory



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Models of physical systems typically involve inputs/parameters that are determined from empirical measurements, and therefore exhibit a certain degree of uncertainty. Estimating the propagation of this uncertainty into computational model output predictions is crucial for purposes of model validation, design optimization, and decision support.

Recent years have seen significant developments in probabilistic methods for efficient uncertainty quantification (UQ) in computational models. These methods are grounded in the use of functional representations for random variables. In particular, Polynomial Chaos (PC) expansions have seen significant use in this context. The utility of PC methods has been demonstrated in a range of physical models, including structural mechanics, porous media, fluid dynamics, aeronautics, heat transfer, and chemically reacting flow. While high-dimensionality remains a challenge, great strides have been made in dealing with moderate dimensionality along with non-linearity and dynamics.

In this talk, I will give an overview of UQ in computational models, and present associated demonstrations in computations of physical systems. I will cover the two key classes of UQ activities, namely: estimation of uncertain input parameters from empirical data, and forward propagation of parametric uncertainty to model outputs. I will cover the basics of PC UQ methods with examples of their use in both forward and inverse UQ problems. I will also highlight the application of these methods in select physical systems, including combustion, as well as ocean and land components of climate models.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Habib Najm (2021), "2016 Uncertainty Quantification in Computational Models of Physical Systems," https://geodynamics.org/resources/302.

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