An inverse thermal problem was considered for two-phase laminar flow in a parallel plate duct. The inlet temperature, which varies temporally as well as spatially, was estimated when measured temperatures were available at downstream of the duct. In the present study, the problem is solved through a minimization of an objective function by using two regularization methods, i.e., the iterative conjugate gradient method (CGM) and the Tikhonov regularization method (TRM). The effects of the functional form of inlet temperature profile, the number of the measurement points and the measurement errors are investigated and discussed. The computational accuracy and efficiency of these two regularization method are compared and discussed. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.