The Geometry of Sloppiness

Emilie Dufresne (University of Nottingham)

Friday 13th October, 2017 15:00-16:00 Seminar room 311B


The use of mathematical models in the sciences often require the estimation of unknown parameter values from data. Sloppiness provides information about the uncertainty of this task. We develop a precise mathematical foundation for sloppiness and define rigorously its key concepts, such as `model manifold' in relation to concepts of structural identifiability. We redefine sloppiness conceptually as a comparison between the premetric on parameter space induced by measurement noise and a reference metric on parameter space. This opens up the possibility of alternative quantification of sloppiness beyond the traditional use of the Fisher Information Matrix, which implicitly assumes infinitesimal measurement error and an Euclidean parameter space. We illustrate the various concepts involved in the proper definition of sloppiness with examples of ordinary differential equation models with time series data arising in mathematical biology.

This is joint with Heather Harrington and Dhruva Raman.

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