Selecting Sensitive Parameter Subsets in Dynamical Models with Application to Biomechanical System Identification

Ahmed Ramadan, Connor Boss, Jongeun Choi, N. Peter Reeves, Jacek Cholewicki, John M. Popovich, Clark J. Radcliffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Estimating many parameters of biomechanical systems with limited data may achieve good fit but may also increase 95% confidence intervals in parameter estimates. This results in poor identifiability in the estimation problem. Therefore, we propose a novel method to select sensitive biomechanical model parameters that should be estimated, while fixing the remaining parameters to values obtained from preliminary estimation. Our method relies on identifying the parameters to which the measurement output is most sensitive. The proposed method is based on the Fisher information matrix (FIM). It was compared against the nonlinear least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) method to guide modelers on the pros and cons of our FIM method. We present an application identifying a biomechanical parametric model of a head position-Tracking task for ten human subjects. Using measured data, our method (1) reduced model complexity by only requiring five out of twelve parameters to be estimated, (2) significantly reduced parameter 95% confidence intervals by up to 89% of the original confidence interval, (3) maintained goodness of fit measured by variance accounted for (VAF) at 82%, (4) reduced computation time, where our FIM method was 164 times faster than the LASSO method, and (5) selected similar sensitive parameters to the LASSO method, where three out of five selected sensitive parameters were shared by FIM and LASSO methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74503
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
• National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the National Institutes of Health (Grant No. U19AT006057).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by ASME.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


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