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PEST - Model-Independent Parameter Estimation and Uncertainty Analysis


Model-Independent Parameter Estimation
and Uncertainty Analysis

Welcome to the PEST web pages.

PEST is the industry standard software package for parameter estimation and uncertainty analysis of complex environmental and other computer models.
PEST is:
  • state-of-the art;
  • comprehensively documented;
  • accompanied by a plethora of utility programs that support its use in conjunction with widely-used groundwater and surface water models;
  • free.
Stroll through these pages to:
  • find out what PEST does;
  • download PEST;
  • download a comprehensive PEST tutorial; 
  • learn about upcoming PEST events;
  • meet other PEST users.
PEST - the Book

This brings together in one place all of the theory on which PEST and its suite of utility software is based. It also covers important issues like how models should be used in the decision-making context, uncertainty analysis, model-based hypothesis testing, and the effects of model defects on calibration, prediction and uncertainty analysis. This book makes an essential reference text for those engaged in environmental modelling. Find out more about the book.

PEST_HP and the HP Suite

The HP Suite is a suite of programs that are designed for use in highly parallelized computing contexts. 

PEST_HP is now free - as are all members of the HP suite. Included in the HP suite are 

  • PEST_HP itself - a powerful and model-run-efficient, highly-parameterized inversion engine which supersedes BEOPEST; 
  • CMAES_HP - a global optimizer that can optimize decision variables where parameters are uncertain; 
  • RSI_HP - a simple, ensemble-based inversion engine that facilitates sampling of the posterior probability distribution of highly parameterized models.

Visit the downloads page to find out more about the HP suite, and to download it. is a PEST cloud enabler. It gives a modeller ridiculously easy access to the cloud computing environment for model calibration using PEST_HP. A user does not need to know anything but the barest essentials about cloud computing. Uploading/downloading of PEST and model files, distribution of files to computing nodes, and shutting down of those nodes when the inversion process is finished, is all taken care of. Meanwhile a modeller gets to use PEST_HP for efficient inversion, and has access to run-time statistics generated by PEST_HP while calibration is in progress.


Training videos on PEST and related topics are now available. 

PEST courses are planned in 2020 for Japan, the US, Italy and Switzerland.

See the training page for further details on these topics.

New PEST Manuals

At last, documentation for PEST and its Utilities has been completely re-written!

The new PEST manual is detailed and comprehensive. It now comes in two parts.

Part I describes PEST itself (including Parallel PEST and BEOPEST), as well as the two PEST-compatible global optimisers CMAES_P and SCEUA_P. Part II documents over 100 utility support programs whose tasks include the following:

  • Assisting in PEST setup
  • PEST input dataset error checking
  • Manipulation of Jacobian and other matrices
  • Calculation of pre- and post-PEST-run statistics
  • Analysis of information content of existing or yet-to-be-acquired data
  • Linear and nonlinear parameter and predictive error and uncertainty analysis
  • Subspace analysis
For more information on anything to do with PEST contact us.

Here are some downloads that can help you quickly learn more about PEST, its philosophical underpinnings, and implications of PEST technology for model-based decision support:-

See the downloads page for much more.

These pages were last updated on 26th February, 2020. (PEST version 17.05; free PEST_HP version 17.05, New training videos) 

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