TY - JOUR

T1 - A Bayesian approach to modeling finite element discretization error

AU - Poot, Anne

AU - Kerfriden, Pierre

AU - Rocha, Iuri

AU - van der Meer, Frans

PY - 2024

Y1 - 2024

N2 - In this work, the uncertainty associated with the finite element discretization error is modeled following the Bayesian paradigm. First, a continuous formulation is derived, where a Gaussian process prior over the solution space is updated based on observations from a finite element discretization. To avoid the computation of intractable integrals, a second, finer, discretization is introduced that is assumed sufficiently dense to represent the true solution field. A prior distribution is assumed over the fine discretization, which is then updated based on observations from the coarse discretization. This yields a posterior distribution with a mean that serves as an estimate of the solution, and a covariance that models the uncertainty associated with this estimate. Two particular choices of prior are investigated: a prior defined implicitly by assigning a white noise distribution to the right-hand side term, and a prior whose covariance function is equal to the Green’s function of the partial differential equation. The former yields a posterior distribution with a mean close to the reference solution, but a covariance that contains little information regarding the finite element discretization error. The latter, on the other hand, yields posterior distribution with a mean equal to the coarse finite element solution, and a covariance with a close connection to the discretization error. For both choices of prior a contradiction arises, since the discretization error depends on the right-hand side term, but the posterior covariance does not. We demonstrate how, by rescaling the eigenvalues of the posterior covariance, this independence can be avoided.

AB - In this work, the uncertainty associated with the finite element discretization error is modeled following the Bayesian paradigm. First, a continuous formulation is derived, where a Gaussian process prior over the solution space is updated based on observations from a finite element discretization. To avoid the computation of intractable integrals, a second, finer, discretization is introduced that is assumed sufficiently dense to represent the true solution field. A prior distribution is assumed over the fine discretization, which is then updated based on observations from the coarse discretization. This yields a posterior distribution with a mean that serves as an estimate of the solution, and a covariance that models the uncertainty associated with this estimate. Two particular choices of prior are investigated: a prior defined implicitly by assigning a white noise distribution to the right-hand side term, and a prior whose covariance function is equal to the Green’s function of the partial differential equation. The former yields a posterior distribution with a mean close to the reference solution, but a covariance that contains little information regarding the finite element discretization error. The latter, on the other hand, yields posterior distribution with a mean equal to the coarse finite element solution, and a covariance with a close connection to the discretization error. For both choices of prior a contradiction arises, since the discretization error depends on the right-hand side term, but the posterior covariance does not. We demonstrate how, by rescaling the eigenvalues of the posterior covariance, this independence can be avoided.

KW - Bayesian inference

KW - Error estimation

KW - Finite element method

KW - Probabilistic numerics

KW - Uncertainty quantification

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85200760436&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s11222-024-10463-z

DO - 10.1007/s11222-024-10463-z

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85200760436

SN - 0960-3174

VL - 34

JO - Statistics and Computing

JF - Statistics and Computing

IS - 5

M1 - 167

ER -