A Bayesian definition of 'most probable' parameters

Paolo Gardoni, Giovanna Biscontin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Since guidelines for choosing 'most probable' parameters in ground engineering design codes are vague, concerns are raised regarding their definition, as well as the associated uncertainties. This paper introduces Bayesian inference for a new rigorous approach to obtaining the estimates of the most probable parameters based on observations collected during construction. Following the review of optimisation-based methods that can be used in back-analysis, such as gradient descent and neural networks, a probabilistic model is developed using Clough and O'Rourke's method for retaining wall design. Sequential Bayesian inference is applied to a staged excavation project to examine the applicability of the proposed approach and illustrate the process of back-analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-142
Number of pages13
JournalGeotechnical Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 13 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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