Statistics of Parameter Estimates: A Concrete Example

Oscar Aguilar, Moritz Allmaras, Wolfgang Bangerth, Luis Tenorio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


© 2015 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Most mathematical models include parameters that need to be determined from measurements. The estimated values of these parameters and their uncertainties depend on assumptions made about noise levels, models, or prior knowledge. But what can we say about the validity of such estimates, and the influence of these assumptions? This paper is concerned with methods to address these questions, and for didactic purposes it is written in the context of a concrete nonlinear parameter estimation problem. We will use the results of a physical experiment conducted by Allmaras et al. at Texas A&M University [M. Allmaras et al., SIAM Rev., 55 (2013), pp. 149-167] to illustrate the importance of validation procedures for statistical parameter estimation. We describe statistical methods and data analysis tools to check the choices of likelihood and prior distributions, and provide examples of how to compare Bayesian results with those obtained by non-Bayesian methods based on different types of assumptions. We explain how different statistical methods can be used in complementary ways to improve the understanding of parameter estimates and their uncertainties.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-149
Number of pages19
JournalSIAM Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


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