An Approach Based on Hierarchical Bayesian Graphical Models for Measurement Interpretation under Uncertainty

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Skataric, Maja
Bose, Sandip
Zeroug, Smaine
Tilke, Peter
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Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation
Center for Nondestructive Evaluation

Begun in 1973, the Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation (QNDE) is the premier international NDE meeting designed to provide an interface between research and early engineering through the presentation of current ideas and results focused on facilitating a rapid transfer to engineering development.

This site provides free, public access to papers presented at the annual QNDE conference between 1983 and 1999, and abstracts for papers presented at the conference since 2001.


It is not uncommon in the field of non-destructive evaluation that multiple measurements encompassing a variety of modalities are available for analysis and interpretation for determining the underlying states of nature of the materials or parts being tested. Despite and sometimes due to the richness of data, significant challenges arise in the interpretation manifested as ambiguities and inconsistencies due to various uncertain factors in the physical properties (inputs), environment, measurement device properties, human errors, and the measurement data (outputs). Most of these uncertainties cannot be described by any rigorous mathematical means, and modeling of all possibilities is usually infeasible for many real time applications.
In this work, we will discuss an approach based on Hierarchical Bayesian Graphical Models (HBGM) for the improved interpretation of complex (multi-dimensional) problems with parametric uncertainties that lack usable physical models. In this setting, the input space of the physical properties is specified through prior distributions based on domain knowledge and expertise, which are represented as Gaussian mixtures to model the various possible scenarios of interest for non-destructive testing applications. Forward models are then used offline to generate the expected distribution of the proposed measurements which are used to train a hierarchical Bayesian network. In Bayesian analysis, all model parameters are treated as random variables, and inference of the parameters is made on the basis of posterior distribution given the observed data. Learned parameters of the posterior distribution obtained after the training can therefore be used to build an efficient classifier for differentiating new observed data in real time on the basis of pre-trained models. We will illustrate the implementation of the HBGM approach to ultrasonic measurements used for cement evaluation of cased wells in the oil industry.