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Uncertainty Quantification in HVM SIG Event - Slides and Write-up


The Value of Certainty in Manufacturing


Why deal with uncertainty?...


Whether bringing a new product from conception into production or operating complex plant and production processes, success rests on careful management and control of risk in the face of many interacting uncertainties.


Today’s fiercely competitive market and increasingly stringent regulatory environment is such that there is very little margin for error. Failure to understand and manage risks can result in severe financial penalties and even damage to reputation.


Historically, chief engineers and project managers have estimated and managed risk using mostly human judgment founded upon years of experience and heritage. However, in the modern era of High Value Manufacturing, the design and engineering of products rely increasingly on computer modelling – “The Era of Virtual Design and Engineering”. When computational simulations are used, these various risks and uncertainties must be accounted for.


This ‘Era of Virtual Design’ opens the opportunity to deal with uncertainty in a systematic, formal way. The benefits of this are varied, and include;


-       better management of risk attaching to key decisions,

-       convergence on designs which are robust in the face of uncertainty.


The level of interest and investment in research and industrial uptake is growing significantly across the globe. To progress, the mathematic sciences must work with the statistics community and the engineering community. This was the basic premise for the creation of a Special Interest Group in the subject of Uncertainty Quantification and Management in High Value Manufacturing.


What is Uncertainty Quantification and Management?

Figure 1. Modeling and simulation incorporating uncertainty


The white boxes in Figure 1 show the route a modeling simulation process takes. This process starts with input parameters, through to the formation of a model and then to the computation of an output quantity of interest.


Uncertainty quantification adds extra detail to this process. The yellow boxes demonstrate where uncertainty creeps into the process, and can have a huge effect on the interpretation of the result results of a simulation. As such, it is vital to quantify them and incorporate them into whatever simulation is being run (a full description of the diagram can be found at http://engweb.swan.ac.uk/~adhikaris/stochastic.html)


In short, uncertainty quantification means quantifying all uncertainties;


  1. Uncertainty in model inputs
  2. Uncertainty in propagation
  3. Uncertainty in model structure and solution


Exploring the Opportunities…


The UQ&M SIG hosted a two-day workshop in late June 2015. The workshop was attended by industry representatives from the manufacturing world (food & drink, aerospace, automotive, construction, defence, power, oil & gas and many others) who discussed their approaches with world leading academics. It was fascinating to see what uncertainty means to different sectors, and the varying rates of adoption.


A key aim of the SIG is to assemble a clutch of industry cases at various levels of maturity, identify gaps in industrial research and support industries overcome the barriers to adoption. The first step was to formulate problems, and the presenters on the day didn’t disappoint with the variety of problems to address;


  • Ride optimisation considering vehicle mass property variation (Automotive)
  • The setting of wing target loads (Aerospace - aerodynamics)
  • Uncertainty in the built environment (Built environment)
  • Climb-cruise engine matching (Aerospace -structures)
  • Contact and friction analysis of a turbine blade and disk (Aerospace – propulsion)
  • Dealing with model uncertainty and variability in formulated products (Pharmaceuticals)
  • Uncertainty and measurement (Metrology)
  • The influence of max. metal manufacturing practices on design performance (Aerospace – manufacturing)
  • Uncertainty beneath our feet (Oil & Gas)
  • UQ and wind turbines (Off-shore renewables)
  • Integrity measurements (Manufacturing)


Slides and agenda can be found here


Important themes to emerge:


  1. Communication and presentation of uncertainty – How can these concepts be communicated to decision makers? Interactive data visualisation techniques commonplace in some sectors could provide a step change in how uncertainties are presented and, more importantly, acted on.


  1. Input uncertainties – For many people, UQ is about propagating uncertainty – but where are these input uncertainties coming from? More often than not, it is a judgment based on all available evidence and experience. How can these be gained then? Through the process of elicitation – this is a difficult process to do well.


  1. Subjective experience as a target for complex designs – In consumer industries success rests on not only performance, but perception of performance – but how can this subjective target be built into complex models?


  1. Dealing with many, varied uncertainties – Well established techniques exist to propagate uncertainties through models, and they are highly effective. However the complexity of dealing with many uncertainties and many varying types of uncertainty are often prohibitive in their computational expense.


  1. Engineering of material properties – The opportunities with new materials, composites for example, which can have their properties ‘engineered’ opens up new paradigm in design. However, new paradigms also introduce uncertainty as there is a lack of historical knowledge in how these materials behave in complex designs. How can these materials be incorporated and their uncertainties quantified?


  1. Inverse methods across complex designs – Being able to identify which of your input uncertainties affects strongly your quantity of interest is a vital capability in the design process. If you can identify important uncertainties to focus on, measurement strategies can be designed to improve your knowledge of the quantity of interest.


The SIG will continue to bring this work to industry, by formulating problems, creating opportunities to network and addressing barriers to adoption.


With inputs taken from talks given by Prof. Tony Hutton, Airbus UK, Prof. Tony O’Hagan, Emeritus Professor of Statistics and Prof. Sondipon Adhikari, University of Swansea

Agenda and Slides

** Note: Some slides will be released pending authorisation - please check back regularly **

29TH JUNE 2015



Time Speaker Title
10:00 10:30 Coffee and Registration
10:30 10:40

Matt Butchers



Session: UQ in Context

Session Chair: Prof. Tony Hutton

10:40 11:00

Chairman Address: Tony Hutton

Airbus UK

Chairman Address
11:00 11:40

Keynote: Prof. Henry Wynn

London School of Economics

Uncertainty in Context
11:40 12:20

Prof. Sondipon Adhikari

University of Swanswa

Uncertainty Quantification for Composite Structual Dynamics
12:20 12:45

Sanjiv Sharma

Airbus UK

Climb-Cruise Engine Matching

(See Use Case)

12:45 13:45 Lunch and Networking and Posters

Session: Uncertainty Quantification, Measurement and Materials

Session Chair: Dr. James Kermode

13:45 14:10

Tony O'Hagan

Emeritus Proffesor 

The Role of Expert Elicitation
14:10 14:25

Alistair Forbes

National Physical Laboratory

Uncertainty Quantification and Metrology
14:25 14:40

Ujjwal Bharadway

The Welding Institute

Risk and Uncertainty in Integrity Assessments
14:40 15:05

Nicholas Zabaras

Warwick University

Materials and Uncertainty: An Information Theoetic Approach
15:05 15:35 Coffee

Sesssion: Design of System, and Uncertainty Propagation

Session Chair: Prof. Henry Wynn

15:35 16:00

Jacqui Morison

Jaguar Land Rover

Ride Optimisation Considering Vehicle Mass Property Variation

See Use Case)

16:00 16:25

Tony Hutton

Airbus UK

Setting of Wing Target Loads

See Use Case)

16:25 16:40

Jaimie Johnston

Bryden Wood

Innovation for UQ in the Built Environment
16:40 16:50

Matt Butchers


Day One Close
16:50 18:00 Close and Networking


30TH JUNE 2015




Time Speaker Title
10:00 10:30 Coffee and Registration
10:30 10:40

Matt Butchers



Sesssion: Design of System, and Uncertainty Propagation

Session Chair: Prof. Tony O'Hagan

10:40 11:05

Ron Bates

Rolls-Royce PLC

Uncertainty Analysis of Nonlinear Systems-Contact & Friction Analysis of a Turbine Blade and Disk
11:05 11:30

Ben Calderhead

Imperial College London

Bayesian Methods
11:30 11:45

Sean Bermingham

Process Systems Enterprise Ltd.

Robust design of formulated products and their manufacturing processes taking into account model uncertainty and common cause variation
11:45 12:10

Francisco Alejandro DiazDelaO

Institute for Risk & Uncertainty

Meta Modeling for Uncertainty Propagation

12:10 12:30 Coffee
12:30 12:55

Marin Guenov

Cranfield University

Advanced Methods and Tool for Efficient Uncertainty Propagation and Allocation
12:55 13:10

David Standingford

Zenotech Ltd.

The Value of Certainty in Large-scale Simulation
13:10 14:10 Lunch and Networking and Posters

Session: Management and Decision Making Under Uncertainty

Session Chair: Prof. Sondipon Adhikari

14:10 14:25

Gordon May

Rolls-Royce PLC 

The Influence of Max. Metal Manufacturing Practices on Design Performance
14:25 14:45

Jonathan Carter

EON Exploration and Production

Uncertainty Beneath Our Feet: Challenges in the Petroleum Industry
14:45 15:10

Chris Farmer

University of Oxford

Managing Uncertainty
15:10 15:40 Coffee

Sesssion: Innovation Opportunities

Session Chair: Dr. Matt Butchers

15:40 15:50

Matt Butchers


Project Ideas

15:50 16:05

Lynne McGregor

Innovate UK

Innovate UK Opportunties

16:05 16:20

Rob Felstead


EPSRC Funding
16:20 16:30

Matt Butchers


16:30 18:00 Close and Networking

Affiliations in Attendance

Airbus UK

Aircraft Research Association


Atomic Weapons Establishment (TBC)

Bourton Group LLP

Bryden Wood


EON Exploration and Production

Flamingo Engineering Ltd.

Jaguar Land Rover





The Welding Institute Ltd.

Cranfield University

Brunel University

Imperial College London

Institute for Risk and Uncertainty

London School of Economics

University of Bedforshire

University of Cambridge

University of Exeter

University of Liverpool

University of Oxford

University of Sheffield

University of Warwick


Innovate UK


Knowledge Transfer Network

National Physical Laboratory

Smith Institute

The Manufacturing Technology Centre



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