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Uncertainty analysis investigates the uncertainty of variables that are used in decision-making problems in which observations and models represent the knowledge base. In other words, uncertainty analysis aims to make a technical contribution to decision-making through the quantification of uncertainties in the relevant variables.

In physical experiments uncertainty analysis, or experimental uncertainty assessment, deals with assessing the uncertainty in a measurement. An experiment designed to determine an effect, demonstrate a law, or estimate the numerical value of a physical variable will be affected by errors due to instrumentation, methodology, presence of confounding effects and so on. Experimental uncertainty estimates are needed to assess the confidence in the results.

In numerical experiments and modelling uncertainty analysis draws upon a number of techniques for determining the reliability of model predictions, accounting for various sources of uncertainty in model input and design.