Uncertainty quantification of engineering systems using the multilevel Monte Carlo method
This thesis examines the quantification of uncertainty in real-world engineering systems using the multilevel Monte Carlo method. It is often infeasible to use the traditional Monte Carlo method to investigate the impact of uncertainty because computationally it can be prohibitively expensive for complex systems. Therefore, the newer multilevel method is investigated and the cost of this method is analysed in the finite element framework.
The Monte Carlo and multilevel Monte Carlo methods are compared for two prototypical examples: structural vibrations and buoyancy driven flows through porous media. In the first example, the impact of random mass density is quantified for structural vibration problems in several dimensions using the multilevel Monte Carlo method. Comparable eigenvalues and energy density approximations are found for the traditional Monte Carlo method and the multilevel Monte Carlo method, but for certain problems the expectation and variance of the quantities of interest can be computed over 100 times faster using the multilevel Monte Carlo method. It is also tractable to use the multilevel method for three dimensional structures, where the traditional Monte Carlo method is often prohibitively expensive.
In the second example, the impact of uncertainty in buoyancy driven flows through porous media is quantified using the multilevel Monte Carlo method. Again, comparable results are obtained from the two methods for diffusion dominated flows and the multilevel method is orders of magnitude cheaper. The finite element models for this investigation are formulated carefully to ensure that spurious numerical artefacts are not added to the solution and are compared to an analytical model describing the long term sequestration of CO2 in the presence of a background flow. Additional cost reductions are achieved by solving the individual independent samples in parallel using the new podS library. This library schedules the Monte Carlo and multilevel Monte Carlo methods in parallel across different computer architectures for the two examples considered in this thesis. Nearly linear cost reductions are obtained as the number of processes is increased.