What is Uncertainty quantification

Understanding Uncertainty Quantification in AI

Artificial Intelligence has been transforming the manner in which businesses operate, and the way people live their lives. As AI applications become more sophisticated, there is an increasing necessity to analyse the uncertainty that comes along with the predictions that AI specialists produce. Uncertainty quantification is an evolving field that aims to establish and quantify that margin of error, that "uncertainty," in standard AI solutions. In this article, we will discuss the essentials of uncertainty quantification for AI, how it works, and its role in the future of AI.

What is Uncertainty Quantification?

Uncertainty quantification, or UQ, pertains to the process of quantifying the margin of error in forecasts and predictions in data modelling. In AI, UQ deals with scenarios where the AI model produces the most expected outcome, and the assumptions that support the model can significantly affect the probability. For instance, a simple predictive model that takes into account weather and sales data to estimate the revenue of a retail store relies on the underlying assumptions and data collected. The output of the model will have some degree of uncertainty relative to the model's assumptions, problematic model inputs, and algorithm characteristics.

Why is UQ important?

The role of UQ is significant, as with AI models, as they have the potential to compute vast amounts of data much faster than humans can. Moreover, the breadth and scale of the computations make the AI model well-suited for speedy and complex operations businesses require. AI predictions have become increasingly crucial for various business decisions, such as financial planning, supply chain management, and marketing.

How does UQ work?

Uncertainty quantification works using simulation and modelling techniques. One crucial step is to determine the relevant sources of uncertainty that arise from modeling assumptions, input data, and algorithmic behaviors. There are different methods to quantify uncertainty with essential principles that help data scientists gauge and transform those uncertainties into a plausible interpretation, including probability distributions, confidence or prediction intervals, and error bounds. The results of the analysis are then conveyed in a way that provides users with sufficient information to make well-informed choices and draw significant conclusions from the data.

Role of UQ in AI

UQ is an essential research area that plays a central role in AI. While the objective of AI models is to make accurate predictions, the importance of UQ is to establish the margin of error in those predictions. The margin of error can arise due to sparse data, unclear model assumptions, model bias, and process noise, all of which can result in unpredictable outcomes. Moreover, UQ is crucial for AI models deployed in high impact or risk- sensitive domains, such as healthcare, aviation, and energy production, where the consequences of wrong predictions can be costly or even fatal.

Future of UQ in AI

The future of UQ in AI can provide businesses and governments with an additional layer of information that can provide detailed insights and help make accurate and well-informed decisions. Moreover, as machine learning and AI techniques advance, the need for UQ is critical to helping organizations understand the reliability of the models they use. UQ is advancing in various directions, including sensitivity analysis, surrogate models, and copulas, benefiting from statistical, mathematical, and computational techniques. Additionally, data scientists are advancing their understanding of UQ through widespread research in various fields, improving and refining established methods and creating new ones.


In this article, we have covered the essentials of uncertainty quantification in AI. We have highlighted the significance of UQ in the prediction of complex models, how UQ works, and its role in the future of AI. As AI models become more sophisticated and are increasingly deployed, the need to understand UQ and how it applies to AI models becomes more critical. UQ provides both governments and businesses with an additional layer of information to help them make more accurate and well-informed decisions. The field of UQ is rapidly advancing, and we can expect to see innovative and more refined ways of quantifying uncertainties.