Sampling of systematic errors to estimate likelihood weights in nuclear data uncertainty propagation
2016 (English)In: Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, ISSN 0168-9002, E-ISSN 1872-9576, Vol. 807, 137-149 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In methodologies for nuclear data (ND) uncertainty assessment and propagation based on random sampling, likelihood weights can be used to infer experimental information into the distributions for the ND. As the included number of correlated experimental points grows large, the computational time for the matrix inversion involved in obtaining the likelihood can become a practical problem. There are also other problems related to the conventional computation of the likelihood, e.g., the assumption that all experimental uncertainties are Gaussian. In this study, a way to estimate the likelihood which avoids matrix inversion is investigated; instead, the experimental correlations are included by sampling of systematic errors. It is shown that the model underlying the sampling methodology (using univariate normal distributions for random and systematic errors) implies a multivariate Gaussian for the experimental points (i.e., the conventional model). It is also shown that the likelihood estimates obtained through sampling of systematic errors approach the likelihood obtained with matrix inversion as the sample size for the systematic errors grows large. In studied practical cases, it is seen that the estimates for the likelihood weights converge impractically slowly with the sample size, compared to matrix inversion. The computational time is estimated to be greater than for matrix inversion in cases with more experimental points, too. Hence, the sampling of systematic errors has little potential to compete with matrix inversion in cases where the latter is applicable. Nevertheless, the underlying model and the likelihood estimates can be easier to intuitively interpret than the conventional model and the likelihood function involving the inverted covariance matrix. Therefore, this work can both have pedagogical value and be used to help motivating the conventional assumption of a multivariate Gaussian for experimental data. The sampling of systematic errors could also be used in cases where the experimental uncertainties are not Gaussian, and for other purposes than to compute the likelihood, e.g., to produce random experimental data sets for a more direct use in ND evaluation.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016. Vol. 807, 137-149 p.
Nuclear data, Uncertainty propagation, Experimental correlations, Systematic uncertainty, Total Monte Carlo
Research subject Physics with specialization in Applied Nuclear Physics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265321DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2015.10.024ISI: 000365596200019OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-265321DiVA: diva2:865156