A Hybrid Artificial Neural Network-Numerical Model for Ground Water Problems

Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Ground Water, 2007, 45 (5), pp. 590 - 600
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Numerical models constitute the most advanced physical-based methods for modeling complex ground water systems. Spatial and/or temporal variability of aquifer parameters, boundary conditions, and initial conditions (for transient simulations) can be assigned across the numerical model domain. While this constitutes a powerful modeling advantage, it also presents the formidable challenge of overcoming parameter uncertainty, which, to date, has not been satisfactorily resolved, inevitably producing model prediction errors. In previous research, artificial neural networks (ANNs), developed with more accessible field data, have achieved excellent predictive accuracy over discrete stress periods at site-specific field locations in complex ground water systems. In an effort to combine the relative advantages of numerical models and ANNs, a new modeling paradigm is presented. The ANN models generate accurate predictions for a limited number of field locations. Appending them to a numerical model produces an overdetermined system of equations, which can be solved using a variety of mathematical techniques, potentially yielding more accurate numerical predictions. Mathematical theory and a simple two-dimensional example are presented to overview relevant mathematical and modeling issues. Two of the three methods for solving the overdetermined system achieved an overall improvement in numerical model accuracy for various levels of synthetic ANN errors using relatively few constrained head values (i.e., cells), which, while demonstrating promise, requires further research. This hybrid approach is not limited to ANN technology; it can be used with other approaches for improving numerical model predictions, such as regression or support vector machines (SVMs).
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