Equipping Neural Network Surrogates with Uncertainty for Propagation in Physical Systems

Research output: NRELPresentation


Coarse-grained or filtered models typically rely on closure models to account for unresolved scales. For instance, large eddy simulation for modeling turbulent fluid flows explicitly resolves the largest scales, but requires modeling closure terms to account for the sub-filter scales. With the vast amount of data available from high-fidelity simulations, there are unique opportunities to leverage data-driven modeling techniques to formulate expressive and flexible closure models. Despite their flexibility, data-driven models struggle in domain shift settings, i.e. when deployed in configurations not captured in the training dataset. In particular, the efficacy of neural network surrogates is difficult to assess a priori due to the deterministic, point-estimate nature of predictions. In high-consequence applications, such models require reliable uncertainty estimates in the data-informed and out-of-distribution regimes. To quantify uncertainties in both regimes, we employ Bayesian neural networks which are able to capture both epistemic and aleatoric uncertainties. We will discuss challenges associated with the training and evaluation of these networks. Furthermore, we will discuss uncertainty embedding strategies to enable efficient sampling and propagation of uncertainty through high-fidelity simulations.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages21
StatePublished - 2024

Publication series

NamePresented at the SIAM Conference on Uncertainty Quantification (UQ24), 27 February - 1 March 2024, Trieste, Italy

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-2C00-89061


  • Bayesian neural networks
  • large eddy simulation
  • progress variable dissipation rate
  • uncertainty quantification


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