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NIST Fundamentals of Uncertainty Analysis Short Course

The NIST Fundamentals of Uncertainty Analysis Short Course is offered once a year and covers the propagation of measurement uncertainty using the methods outlined in the JCGM Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement from a statistical perspective for a wide range of different types of measurements. The short course will provide participants with a working knowledge of the methods needed to compute measurement uncertainties, hands-on experience in their application, and scientific and statistical insight into the interpretation of the results.

The NIST Fundamentals of Uncertainty Analysis Short Course is a 3-day course held on the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The course consists of lectures, short exercises, and hands-on applications covering many aspects of the propagation of uncertainty using the methods outlined in the JCGM Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement.

The exercises and hands-on applications will use functions for uncertainty analysis from the free software package, metRology, written for the open-source R statistical computing environment. The functions will be accessed via an Excel graphical user interface that is available as a free Excel add-in. Communication between R and Excel is handled using the software applications RExcel and statconnDCOM. Users may bring their own laptops, or a laptop for use during the short course will be provided to each participant.

Attendance for the course is limited to 24 participants. Pre-registration is required and acceptance is determined on a first-come, first-served basis.

Topics Covered:

  • Importance of uncertainty analysis
  • Different statistical approaches for uncertainty analysis
  • Essentials of the GUM approach
    • Measurement functions
    • Type A and Type B methods for evaluating standard uncertainties
    • Degrees of freedom
    • Sensitivity coefficients
    • Propagation of standard uncertainties
    • Effective degrees of freedom
    • Expanded uncertainties
  • Software for propagation of uncertainty
  • Interpretation of results


Workshop registration does not include hotel reservations. However, a block of rooms has been held at the Hilton Washington DC North/Gaithersburg, near NIST, for $149/night + tax.

To register for a room at the special short course rate, please call the hotel by March 14, 2011 at 301-977-8900. The short course rate is only available by phone. Please mention the rate code "NFU".

This course will be held at NIST in Gaithersburg, Maryland in the Administration Building (Building 101), Lecture Room F. Bus transportation between the hotel and NIST will be provided each day, or you may drive yourself to and from NIST.

Please alert the hotel staff at check-in, if you would like to reserve a spot on the bus to NIST.

For further information and driving directions, please see the NIST Visitor Information page.

The Gaithersburg, MD. campus of NIST is closed to the general public at this time. Official visitors must present photo identification upon arrival. Visitors can access the campus from the main gate at W. Diamond Ave. and Bureau Drive only. Visitors must wear a visitor badge at all times while on the NIST campus.

If you plan to attend a NIST course, please note that all attendees must be pre-registered. Photo identification must be presented at the main gate to be admitted to the course.

International attendees are required to present a passport to enter NIST. Registrants who are not US citizens or US permanent residents must also complete the Foreign Visitor Information Form by the registration deadline and email it to Will Guthrie at will.guthrie [at] (will[dot]guthrie[at]nist[dot]gov).

Attendees must wear their visitor badges at all times while on the NIST campus.

Created January 25, 2011, Updated March 23, 2018