PEST - Model-Independent Parameter Estimation and Uncertainty Analysis


Tutorial PEST Courses

A Tutorial

Download a comprehensive tutorial that shows you how to use PEST to undertake state-of-the-art model parameter and predictive uncertainty analysis. Two complete worked examples are provided, one involving a surface water model (HSPF) and the other involving a groundwater model (MODFLOW). Also provided is the background theory (explained in an easy-to-read manner) and suggestions on how modern methods of data processing and uncertainty analysis such as are provided by PEST can be used as critical components of the environmental decision-making process.

Topics covered include the following:

  • Monte-Carlo analysis;
  • Linear parameter and predictive uncertainty analysis;
  • Predictive error and predictive uncertainty;
  • Parameter contributions to pre- and post-calibration predictive uncertainty;
  • Assessment of data worth through its ability to reduce predictive uncertainty;
  • Uncertainty analysis for over-determined and under-determined systems;
  • Null space and solution space components of parameter and predictive uncertainty;
  • Nonlinear predictive calibration-constrained maximization/minimization;
  • Assessment of parameter identifiability;
  • Null space Monte Carlo analysis;
  • Scientific hypothesis-testing using models;
  • Using Pareto methods to calculate predictive confidence intervals.

Many thanks to the South Florida Water Management District for making development of this tutorial possible.

PEST Courses

John Doherty (the author of PEST) conducts a number of professional PEST courses each year. These focus on the use of PEST in groundwater and surface water model calibration, and the use of model-partner software in decision support. 

A two day PEST/PEST++ course will be held in Golden, Colorado on 6/7 June 2019 just after the MODFLOW conference. Co-instructors are Jeremy White, Randy Hunt and Mike Fienen.

A five day PEST course will be held in Neuchatel, Switzerland from 9th to 13th September, 2019. For more information, click here.

A four day PEST course will be held in Santiago, Chile starting 25th November, 2019. For more information, click here.

A two day course which covers model support software, model-usage in decision-making and PEST theory/practice will be held in Milan, Italy on 9/10 December 2019. Co-instructors are Francesca Lotti and Giovanni Formentin. This is accompanied by internet training. Click here for a brochure. 

Contact us for further details on either of these courses if you are interested.

In-house training is also offered. This can be tailored to your needs. Contact us if you are interested.

Topics covered in a typical PEST course include the following:
  • Traditional parameter estimation
  • Regularized inversion
  • Tikhonov and SVD regularization
  • Model calibration using SVD-assist
  • Techniques for calibration of ground water models
  • Use of pilot points as a parameterization device
  • Techniques for calibration of surface water models
  • Parameter and predictive uncertainty analysis
  • Calibration-constrained Monte Carlo analysis (including null space MC)
  • Optimization of data aquisition
  • Dealing with model imperfections
  • Handling of "real" measurement noise and structural noise
  • Use of models in decision-support
  • Model-based hypothesis-testing 
Courses include theory and workshops. Participants are provided with a memory stick whose contents include the following.
  • The latest version of PEST
  • Copies of all slides shown during lectures
  • Files and documentation for all PEST workshops
  • Copies of papers and other literature on PEST
Workshops include the following.
  • Using PEST with a simple storage model
  • Using PEST with MODFLOW (three workshops)
  • Using PEST with HSPF
  • Using PEST with SEAWAT (two workshops)
  • Using pilot points
  • Linear and nonlinear uncertainty analysis

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