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September 30, 2022

Hyperparameter optimization approaches were applied to improve performance and accuracy of groundwater flow models. Freely available new software, NWTOPT, is described that uses Tree of Parzen Estimators (TPE) and Random Search optimization algorithms to optimize MODFLOW-NWT’s solver settings. We ran 3500 trials on a steady-state and transient model. To quantify the performance of candidate solver settings, we defined a loss function based on time elapsed and mass balance error of the MODFLOW-NWT forward run. Before optimization the steady-state model ran in ~12 minutes and the transient model ran in ~5 hours with acceptable mass balance error (less than 1%). After optimization runtimes were reduced to ~2.7 minutes (steady state) and ~48 minutes (transient) with errors below 0.1%. In both cases TPE found hyperparameters that resulted in faster running and lower error models than those found by Random Search. The time to complete the optimization trials was also shorter with the TPE algorithm.

Publication Year 2022
DOI 10.5066/P9CPBZJX
Authors Randall J Hunt, Max W Newcomer
Product Type Software Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Upper Midwest Water Science Center