The PEST Conference

We are very happy to report that the first-ever PEST Conference was a roaring success!

The PEST Conference was held in The Stained Glass Hall of the Bolger Center, Potomac, Maryland from November 2nd through 4th, 2009. The primary goal of the PEST Conference was to bring together modelers from a variety of disciplines who either have experience in, or wished to learn more about, parameter estimation and uncertainty analysis – focusing on the PEST suite of programs. In attendance at the Conference were over 60 participants from 8 countries and 19 of the United States of America.

The participants spent three very productive days networking, exchanging ideas, discussing applications of the PEST suite of programs, and sharing tips and techniques on the development of environmental models.  The Conference provided a focus for collaboration between developers of the next generation of calibration and uncertainty analysis codes.  Participants gave presentations on a range of topics from traditional parameter estimation, through regularized inversion, to massively-parallelized inversion using Cloud Computing.  Dr. Ghislain DeMarsily joined us via Skype video-conference from Europe, providing a fascinating insight into his development of the pilot point method. Other key presentations were given by Randy Hunt (USGS), Jasper Vrugt (Los Alamos National Laboratories), Marsh Lavenue (Intera, Inc), among others. Developments from the Conference include:

Publication of Proceedings

The presentations have been summarized and collected in a volume that is available for purchase at nominal cost through the on-line self-publishing warehouse LULU.COM.  The Proceedings are offered in either full color, or black and white, and as a bound volume or electronic download.

Cloud Computing

Also at the PEST Conference, the recent development of “cloud computing” was discussed as a means to bring unprecedented computing power to bear on groundwater problems (Luchette et al. 2009; Schreuder 2009). Cloud computing has been widely covered in the recent popular press (e.g., Newsweek - "Living in the Clouds"), and in its simplest form includes Internet-accessible e-mail. However, cloud computing also includes other capabilities, including allowing customers to create multiprocessor configurations, or “supercomputers,” by renting virtual computers over the Internet. Several attendees of the PEST Conference collaborated to publish a Rapid Communication paper in Ground Water describing how the Cloud can be used together with PEST to undertake computationally intensive analyses that benefit from parallelization. This first-ever Rapid Communication can be downloaded free from the Ground Water publication pages.

The Conference was such a success that we are planning another at the same venue in November 2012!

On behalf of S.S. Papadopulos & Associates, Inc., together with Dr. John Doherty and Jim Rumbaugh, I would like thank everyone for their participation in the Conference, and also thank those who attended the Introductory and Advanced courses.  Should anyone have any follow-up questions on the Conference, please do not hesitate to contact us directly at the numbers listed below.

  • Matthew Tonkin, Principal
    S.S. Papadopulos & Associates, Inc.
    Tel: (301) 718-8900   Fax: (301) 718-8909