An adaptive least-squares global sensitivity method and application to a plasma-coupled combustion prediction with parametric correlation

Kunkun Tang, Luca Massa, Jonathan Wang, Jonathan B. Freund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We introduce an efficient non-intrusive surrogate-based methodology for global sensitivity analysis and uncertainty quantification. Modified covariance-based sensitivity indices (mCov-SI) are defined for outputs that reflect correlated effects. The overall approach is applied to simulations of a complex plasma-coupled combustion system with disparate uncertain parameters in sub-models for chemical kinetics and a laser-induced breakdown ignition seed. The surrogate is based on an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) expansion, such as widely used in statistics, with orthogonal polynomials representing the ANOVA subspaces and a polynomial dimensional decomposition (PDD) representing its multi-dimensional components. The coefficients of the PDD expansion are obtained using a least-squares regression, which both avoids the direct computation of high-dimensional integrals and affords an attractive flexibility in choosing sampling points. This facilitates importance sampling using a Bayesian calibrated posterior distribution, which is fast and thus particularly advantageous in common practical cases, such as our large-scale demonstration, for which the asymptotic convergence properties of polynomial expansions cannot be realized due to computation expense. Effort, instead, is focused on efficient finite-resolution sampling. Standard covariance-based sensitivity indices (Cov-SI) are employed to account for correlation of the uncertain parameters. Magnitude of Cov-SI is unfortunately unbounded, which can produce extremely large indices that limit their utility. Alternatively, mCov-SI are then proposed in order to bound this magnitude ∈[0,1]. The polynomial expansion is coupled with an adaptive ANOVA strategy to provide an accurate surrogate as the union of several low-dimensional spaces, avoiding the typical computational cost of a high-dimensional expansion. It is also adaptively simplified according to the relative contribution of the different polynomials to the total variance. The approach is demonstrated for a laser-induced turbulent combustion simulation model, which includes parameters with correlated effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-198
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
StatePublished - May 15 2018


  • Adaptive ANOVA
  • Correlated inputs
  • Covariance-based sensitivity analysis
  • Dimension reduction
  • Plasma-coupled turbulent combustion
  • Polynomial dimensional decomposition (PDD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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