Assessing the convergence of LHS Monte Carlo simulations of wastewater treatment models

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Monte Carlo (MC) simulation appears to be the only currently adopted tool to estimate global sensitivities and uncertainties in wastewater treatment modelling. Such models are highly complex, dynamic and non-linear, requiring long computation times, especially in the scope of MC simulation, due to the large number of simulations usually required. However, no stopping rule to decide on the number of simulations required to achieve a given confidence in the MC simulation results has been adopted so far in the field. In this work, a pragmatic method is proposed to minimize the computation time by using a combination of several criteria. It makes no use of prior knowledge about the model, is very simple, intuitive and can be automated: all convenient features in engineering applications. A case study is used to show an application of the method, and the results indicate that the required number of simulations strongly depends on the model output(s) selected, and on the type and desired accuracy of the analysis conducted. Hence, no prior indication is available regarding the necessary number of MC simulations, but the proposed method is capable of dealing with these variations and stopping the calculations after convergence is reached.

Keywords: computation time, global methods, sensitivity and uncertainty analysis

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