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NIST Fundamentals of Uncertainty Analysis Short Course

The NIST Fundamentals of Uncertainty Analysis Short Course 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. Concepts are illustrated using examples from 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. It is offered to participants from the public once or twice a year as demand dictates.

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.

It is recommended that users bring their own laptops for use during the short course. However, the Statistical Engineering Division may be able to provide some laptops for use during the short course for participants who cannot bring one. Please contact the instructors to arrange for use of a laptop during the short course.

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 at a discounted rate has been held at the Hilton Washington DC North/Gaithersburg. The hotel address is 620 Perry Parkway, Gaithersburg, Maryland. The telephone number is 301-977-8900 and the fax number is 301-869-8597.The room rate is $139/night and includes breakfast. The group code to reserve at this rate is "FUN".

This course will be held at NIST in Gaithersburg, Maryland in the Old Chemistry Building (Building 222), Rooms 228-232 . 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 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 July 3, 2012, Updated May 13, 2016