Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis for Environmental Models

Maryland, TBD Fall 2020

Due to scheduling conflicts with the Darcy lecture, we are no longer offering this course in October, and have tenatively planned to offer it in the Fall of 2020.  To learn more about the course or to sign up to receive updates when the course will be offered, see below.

Courses in model calibration, model uncertainty analysis, and the application of the program PEST are presented by the author of PEST, Dr. John Doherty, throughout the world. Multi-day courses have a strong practical aspect, where participants are guided through exercises designed to illustrate important facets of model calibration, experimental design, and predictive analysis. At these courses, participants are also encouraged to bring their own models to investigate the use of PEST. One-day workshops are occasionally presented that serve to introduce attendees to the theory and application of inverse modeling.

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This four day course covers introductory and advanced PEST usage as well as PEST++ usage. However the course is far more than a PEST course, and will benefit those who do not use PEST or do not even model. It covers the theory of calibration and uncertainty analysis as it applies to environmental models in general and groundwater models in particular. It applies this theory to explore important topics such as the benefits and drawbacks of simple versus complex models, and the means through which model usefulness can be strengthened in the decision-making context. At the same time, course participants gain experience in the use of PEST, and in the use of advanced parameterization devices such as pilot points.

Other topics include:

  • Traditional calibration based on parameter parsimony – benefits and drawbacks;
  • Manual and mathematical regularisation;
  • Highly-parameterized inversion;
  • Accommodation of model defects in calibration and uncertainty analysis;
  • Linear and nonlinear sensitivity and data worth analysis;
  • Calibration and uncertainty analysis for surface water and land use models;
  • Use of the PESTPP-IES ensemble smoother;
  • PEST_HP and

Participants will receive the latest version of PEST, the PEST book, copies of all slideshows used in the course, and a suite of PEST tutorials to do in their spare time.

Instruction will be provided by:

John Doherty, developer of PEST and internationally recognized expert in inverse modeling techniques and uncertainty analysis.


Course Fee Structure

NOTE: Register before June 30, 2019 for a 10% Early Bird Discount.  Discount will be applied at checkout.

Register a party of 3 or more from the same organization for an additional 10% discount.   For this discount, contact Chris Muffels at

Four Day Course


Please note: If you are registering for someone other than yourself, please use the "Special Instructions" feature below. Please list the name, email and phone number of the party who will be attending the course.

Special Instructions?

Please use the form below to sign up for updates:


Course Location


Where to Stay - Hotel Rates and locations

Further Information

For any further technical information on either or both courses, please contact: Chris Muffels at

For any further assistance with logistical questions, please contact: Jennifer Chretien at

Our cancellation policy can be found on our website.