A posteriori stochastic correction of reduced models in delayed-acceptance MCMC, with application to multiphase subsurface inverse problems

Tiangang Cui, Colin Fox, Michael J. O'Sullivan

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Sample-based Bayesian inference provides a route to uncertainty quantification in the geosciences and inverse problems in general but is very computationally demanding in the naïve form, which requires simulating an accurate computer model at each iteration. We present a new approach that constructs a stochastic correction to the error induced by a reduced model, with the correction improving as the algorithm proceeds. This enables sampling from the correct target distribution at reduced computational cost per iteration, as in existing delayed-acceptance schemes, while avoiding appreciable loss of statistical efficiency that necessarily occurs when using a reduced model. Use of the stochastic correction significantly reduces the computational cost of estimating quantities of interest within desired uncertainty bounds. In contrast, existing schemes that use a reduced model directly as a surrogate do not actually improve computational efficiency in our target applications. We build on recent simplified conditions for adaptive Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithms to give practical approximation schemes and algorithms with guaranteed convergence. The efficacy of this new approach is demonstrated in two computational examples, including calibration of a large-scale numerical model of a real geothermal reservoir, that show good computational and statistical efficiencies on both synthetic and measured data sets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-605
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2019


  • adaptive MCMC
  • delayed acceptance
  • geothermal reservoir modeling
  • inverse problem
  • reduced model

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