PEST Course 2015

Workshop Model Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis Using PEST


PEST (Parameter ESTimation) is a general-purpose, model-independent, parameter estimation and model predictive uncertainty analysis package. It is the most advanced software readily available for calibration and predictive uncertainty analysis of groundwater, reservoir, surface water, and other models.

The workshop will provide attendees with the foundations of parameter estimation theory, an understanding of the sources of uncertainty in predictions made by numerical models, and experience in using PEST to calibrate groundwater flow and transport models and explore the uncertainties of predictions made by these models.

The program for each day is a combination of lectures and practical sessions (hands on exercises). With regard to the practical sessions, the content of these can (at least to some extent) be defined by the individual attendee.

Target audience

Practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds will benefit from this course, whether new to PEST or with previous PEST experience.

To get the most out of the course, attendees should have modelling experience, preferably in the groundwater or surface water disciplines. However the material presented on the afternoon of the first day will also benefit those who rely on models for decision-making purposes and need to have a better understanding of what models can and cannot achieve, but do not necessarily build them. The session will be open to the public for free.

Hands-on labs are GUI-independent and cover a variety of modelling disciplines, so that anyone interested in model calibration, parameter optimization, or the analysis of numerical model uncertainty can benefit from the couse. Experience in working at the command line level is an advantage in doing the workshops.
Make sure to bring your laptop so that we can install the software and workshop on it.

Even if you are not a modeller you can still benefit from the course because the concepts explained in this course are vital to an understanding of the role of modelling in environmental management. They will also allow you tu understand what models can and cannot do, and to separate fact from fiction in promises made by those who sell expensive models


  • Day 1, morning: Overview of linear analysis and matrix algebra
  • Day 1, afternoon: Models and Decision Support: what models can and cannot achieve
  • Day 2: Basics of Parameter Estimation: Theory and Practice
  • Day 3, morning: Applied groundwater parameter estimation
  • Day 3, afternoon: Highly parameterized inversion
  • Day 4, morning: Calibration-contrained uncertainty analysis
  • Day 4, afternoon: Stochastic field generation

Administrative Information


- Early (before August 15th) registration fees are:  CHF 1800 for professionals and CHF 900 for students

- Late (after August 15th) registration are: CHF 2000 and CHF 1000

The session on the afternoon of the first day is open to the public and free.


Registration formular


September 7 - 10, 2015


CHYN - Centre d'hydrogéologie et de géothermie

Rue Emile-Argand 11, 2000 Neuchâtel

Room: to be announced

Time table: 9h00 - 17h00


Dr. John Doherty, author of PEST


Registration Formular

Fees: Before Aug 15th: CHF 1800 for professionnals, CHF 900 for students; after Aug 15th: CHF 2000 (p), 1000 (s)


Prof. Philip Brunner, CHYN - Center for Hydrogeology and Geothermics