Forward and backward uncertainty propagation: an oxidation ditch modelling example

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In the field of water technology, forward uncertainty propagation is frequently used, whereas backward uncertainty propagation is rarely used. In forward uncertainty analysis, one moves from a given (or assumed) parameter subspace towards the corresponding distribution of the output or objective function. However, in the backward uncertainty propagation, one moves in the reverse direction, from the distribution function towards the parameter subspace. Backward uncertainty propagation, which is a generalisation of parameter estimation error analysis, gives information essential for designing experimental or monitoring programmes, and for tighter bounding of parameter uncertainty intervals. The procedure of carrying out backward uncertainty propagation is illustrated in this technical note by working example for an oxidation ditch wastewater treatment plant. Results obtained have demonstrated that essential information can be achieved by carrying out backward uncertainty propagation analysis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-435
JournalWater Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • waste water treatment
  • oxidation ditches
  • simulation models
  • activated sludge
  • uncertainty
  • systems

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