Statistical validation and calibration of computer models
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This thesis deals with modeling, validation and calibration problems in experiments of computer models. Computer models are mathematic representations of real systems developed for understanding and investigating the systems. Before a computer model is used, it often needs to be validated by comparing the computer outputs with physical observations and calibrated by adjusting internal model parameters in order to improve the agreement between the computer outputs and physical observations. As computer models become more powerful and popular, the complexity of input and output data raises new computational challenges and stimulates the development of novel statistical modeling methods. One challenge is to deal with computer models with random inputs (random effects). This kind of computer models is very common in engineering applications. For example, in a thermal experiment in the Sandia National Lab (Dowding et al. 2008), the volumetric heat capacity and thermal conductivity are random input variables. If input variables are randomly sampled from particular distributions with unknown parameters, the existing methods in the literature are not directly applicable. The reason is that integration over the random variable distribution is needed for the joint likelihood and the integration cannot always be expressed in a closed form. In this research, we propose a new approach which combines the nonlinear mixed effects model and the Gaussian process model (Kriging model). Different model formulations are also studied to have an better understanding of validation and calibration activities by using the thermal problem. Another challenge comes from computer models with functional outputs. While many methods have been developed for modeling computer experiments with single response, the literature on modeling computer experiments with functional response is sketchy. Dimension reduction techniques can be used to overcome the complexity problem of function response; however, they generally involve two steps. Models are first fit at each individual setting of the input to reduce the dimensionality of the functional data. Then the estimated parameters of the models are treated as new responses, which are further modeled for prediction. Alternatively, pointwise models are first constructed at each time point and then functional curves are fit to the parameter estimates obtained from the fitted models. In this research, we first propose a functional regression model to relate functional responses to both design and time variables in one single step. Secondly, we propose a functional kriging model which uses variable selection methods by imposing a penalty function. we show that the proposed model performs better than dimension reduction based approaches and the kriging model without regularization. In addition, non-asymptotic theoretical bounds on the estimation error are presented.