Scope File

The Scope File is where the scope is defined for the analysis. The file is implemented in YAML and contains the selected model inputs (uncertainties, levers) and and outputs (measures) for the analysis and the necessary meta-data on each. The scope file is used when initializing an EMAT Scope.

Scope Name and Description

Each scope file begins with a scope: section that defines the name and description of the scope. Both the name: and desc: are input as strings, for example:

    name: EMAT demo test
    desc: A demo test to fall in love with EMAT


The inputs: section contains the scoped inputs including uncertainties, levers, and constants that are to be set in the core model. Depending on the input types, there are slightly different parameter settings available. Below we outline some of the more common uses cases. For a full set of input options, see the Parameters documentation.

Within the inputs section, individual inputs are defined by names. The name of a parameter is a string with a unique value not shared by any other model input or output. It is not required but it is generally advisable for parameter names to be a valid Python identifier (i.e. no spaces, starts with a letter or underscore, contains only letters, numbers, and underscores.)

For each defined, name, a number of related settings can be given in the scope file. Not all of these settings are applicable to all input types.

The ptype is one of uncertainty, lever, or constant, and describes what kind of controls and tools might be used in exploratory modeling. This should be set for every input.
The dtype is one of float, integer, bool (for True/False values), or cat (for discrete categorical values).
A default value for the parameter. The default value is not needed for many exploratory modeling applications, but it is useful when TMIP-EMAT is used for sensitivity testing and similar applications, or to illustrate a “reference” default scenario if that is desired.
min, max
A lower and upper bound for the parameter. This is not applicable for constants.
By default, uncertainties and policy levers are evaluated using a uniform distribution between the lower and upper bounds, as is typical for exploratory modeling under deep uncertainty. However, if a modeler wished to include a non-uniform distribution, that can be given here as a sub-dictionary, giving the name of the desired distribution (e.g. triangular, pert) as well as any required shape parameters. In general, bounded distributions are preferred for exploratory modeling, as the long tails of unbounded distributions can cause numerical instability when extreme values are generated. Note that the upper and lower bounds for each input are defined by the min and max, and only any other distributional shape parameters (e.g. the relative location of the peak for skewed distrivutions, or the gamma shape parameter for PERT distributions) need be given inside the “dist” definition. See below for examples.
For categorical distributions only, give a list of particular discrete values that the factor can take on. These can be given as strings or numerical values.
A brief description of the parameter can be provided. The description is not used in mathematical modeling, but it can be accessed to provide context in certain visualizations (e.g. as a tooltip).
If modeling well-characterized uncertainties, it is possible that some correlation across uncertainties is desired. This correlation can be asserted in the scope, and random draws with approximately this level of correlation can be generated.


Uncertainties are defined by the range or categories of values, and the distribution shape and parameters across the range. Correlations may also be defined between multiple uncertainty measures.

An example uncertainty input is below. This example implements an uncertainty variable with a range between 0.82 and 1.37 with a PERT distribution shaped by a relative peak 33% of the distance between lower and upper bounds, and a gamma value of 4. There is also a defined correlation between the distribution of this uncertainty variable and two other variables in the scope. The default value of this variable is 1.0, which is used for sensitivity testing as the “baseline” value for this parameter on tests where it is not the focus (i.e., when examining single-variable sensitivity on other parameters).

    ptype: uncertainty
    desc: A test uncertainty variable
    dtype: float
    default: 1.0
    min: 0.82
    max: 1.37
        name: pert
        rel_peak: 0.33
        gamma: 4
        Uncertainty_Variable_2: 0.5
        Uncertainty_Variable_3: -0.25

Notes on Correlations

Correlations are by definition bi-directional – if ‘Uncertainty_Variable_1’ is set to be correlated at +0.5 with ‘Uncertainty Variable 2’, then that same correlation automatically applies in reverse as well, and it is not necessary to give it explicitly for both parameters (and, if they are both given but at different values, an error is generated when using the scope file).

Additionally, correlations in aggregate across the entire scope must make sense: if ‘A’ is highly correlated with ‘B’ and ‘B’ is highly correlated with ‘C’, then there must be at least some correlation between ‘A’ and ‘C’. Exactly how much is required is a matter of linear algebra (i.e. the correlation matrix must be positive semi-definite). In practical applications, logical and consistent assumptions about correlation across uncertainties should naturally come out fine, and if not, an LinAlgError will be generated.


Levers differ from Uncertainties as inputs because they do not have a distribution per se, rather levers are set in a deterministic fashion. However, it is still important for the analysis that scenarios are tested with levers in all possible positions.

Three example lever definitions are shown below. The first has a simple boolean value, the second has several categorical values, and the third has a continuous value.

    ptype: policy lever
    desc: Example boolean lever input
    dtype: bool
    default: False

    ptype: policy lever
    desc: Example lever with categorical value
    dtype: cat
    default: category 1
        - category 1
        - category 2
        - category 3

    ptype: policy lever
    desc: Example lever with a continuous value
    dtype: int
    default: 30
    min: 15
    max: 50


Constants are inputs with a fixed value in the analysis. This input option is provided to allow the modeler to fix a set of inputs. If a constant is to be set in a manner that it will really never change, then it may be more convenient to simply ignore the constant in the exploratory scope and simply code the constant value directly into the model itself. By providing this functionality in the scope file, TMIP-EMAT allows for use cases where an input is fixed in the current exploratory scope, but it may be changed or even treated as a variable input in other exploratory scopes that otherwise use the exact same underlying model. Note that both the ptype and the dist need to be set to ‘constant’ in the definition.

constant input:
    ptype: constant
    desc: Example constant input
    dtype: float
    default: 60
    dist: constant


The outputs: section of the scoping file lists all the measures to be captured from the core model. Each output is declared individually along with information about any transformation that should be taken in development of the meta-model and how the output should be treated in the automated analysis, for example with EMA Workbench.

For a full set of output options, see the Measures documentation. Within each output measure definition, any keyword argument for the constructor of a Measure can be given in this scope file (with the exception of function arguments, which are disabled for security reasons; use the transform argument instead).

The example output below shows an output measure that has a log transformation (the meta-model will be based on the log of the value of this measure, instead of the original raw value) and the measure should be minimized in an automated analysis.

Example output measure 1:
    metamodeltype: log
    kind: minimize