Stochastic computer simulations are often the only practical way of answering questions relating to ecological management. However, due to their complexity, such models are difficult to calibrate and evaluate. Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) offers an increasingly popular approach to this problem, widely applied across a variety of fields. However, ensuring the accuracy of ABC's estimates has been difficult. Here, we obtain more accurate estimates by incorporating estimation of error into the ABC protocol. We show how this can be done where the data consist of repeated measures of the same quantity and errors may be assumed to be normally distributed and independent. We then derive the correct acceptance probabilities for a probabilistic ABC algorithm, and update the coverage test with which accuracy is assessed. We apply this method, which we call error-calibrated ABC, to a toy example and a realistic 14-parameter simulation model of earthworms that is used in environmental risk assessment. A comparison with exact methods and the diagnostic coverage test show that our approach improves estimation of parameter values and their credible intervals for both models.
- Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC)
- individual-based model
- model fitting
- parameter estimation
- stochastic computer simulation
- EISENIA-FOETIDA SAVIGNY
- INDIVIDUAL-BASED MODELS