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A comprehensive comparison of total-order estimators for global sensitivity analysis

Puy, A., Becker, W., Lo Piano, S. ORCID: and Saltelli, A. (2022) A comprehensive comparison of total-order estimators for global sensitivity analysis. International Journal for Uncertainty Quantification, 12 (2). pp. 1-18. ISSN 2152-5080

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1615/Int.J.UncertaintyQuantification.2021038133


Sensitivity analysis helps identify which model inputs convey the most uncertainty to the model output. One of the most authoritative measures in global sensitivity analysis is the Sobol' total-order index, which can be computed with several different estimators. Although previous comparisons exist, it is hard to know which estimator performs best since the results are contingent on the benchmark setting defined by the analyst (the sampling method, the distribution of the model inputs, the number of model runs, the test function or model and its dimensionality, the weight of higher order effects, or the performance measure selected). Here we compare several total-order estimators in an eight-dimension hypercube, where these benchmark parameters are treated as random parameters. This arrangement significantly relaxes the dependency of the results on the benchmark design. We observe that the most accurate estimators are from Razavi and Gupta, Jansen, or Janon/Monod for factor prioritization, and from Jansen, Janon/Monod, or Azzini and Rosatifor approaching the "true" total-order indices. The rest lag considerably behind. Our work helps analysts navigate myriad total-order formulae by reducing the uncertainty in the selection of the most appropriate estimator.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Construction Management and Engineering
ID Code:105068
Publisher:Begell House


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