The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Recursive Bayesian Inference on Stochastic Differential Equations

Simo Särkkä

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Department of Electrical and Communications Engineering for public examination and debate in Auditorium S4 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 24th of April, 2006, at 12 noon.

Dissertation in PDF format (ISBN 951-22-8127-9)   [3428 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 951-22-8126-0)


This thesis is concerned with recursive Bayesian estimation of non-linear dynamical systems, which can be modeled as discretely observed stochastic differential equations. The recursive real-time estimation algorithms for these continuous-discrete filtering problems are traditionally called optimal filters and the algorithms for recursively computing the estimates based on batches of observations are called optimal smoothers. In this thesis, new practical algorithms for approximate and asymptotically optimal continuous-discrete filtering and smoothing are presented.

The mathematical approach of this thesis is probabilistic and the estimation algorithms are formulated in terms of Bayesian inference. This means that the unknown parameters, the unknown functions and the physical noise processes are treated as random processes in the same joint probability space. The Bayesian approach provides a consistent way of computing the optimal filtering and smoothing estimates, which are optimal given the model assumptions and a consistent way of analyzing their uncertainties.

The formal equations of the optimal Bayesian continuous-discrete filtering and smoothing solutions are well known, but the exact analytical solutions are available only for linear Gaussian models and for a few other restricted special cases. The main contributions of this thesis are to show how the recently developed discrete-time unscented Kalman filter, particle filter, and the corresponding smoothers can be applied in the continuous-discrete setting. The equations for the continuous-time unscented Kalman-Bucy filter are also derived.

The estimation performance of the new filters and smoothers is tested using simulated data. Continuous-discrete filtering based solutions are also presented to the problems of tracking an unknown number of targets, estimating the spread of an infectious disease and to prediction of an unknown time series.

Keywords: Bayesian inference, continuous-discrete filtering, unscented Kalman filter, particle filter

This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.

© 2006 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26