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In statistics, nonlinear regression is a form of regression analysis in which observational data are modeled by a function which is a nonlinear combination of the model parameters and depends on one or more independent variables. The data are fitted by a method of successive approximations.
In nonlinear regression, a statistical model of the form,
relates a vector of independent variables, , and its associated observed dependent variables, . The function is nonlinear in the components of the vector of parameters , but otherwise arbitrary. For example, the Michaelis–Menten model for enzyme kinetics has two parameters and one independent variable, related by by:
This function is nonlinear because it cannot be expressed as a linear combination of the two s.
Systematic error may be present in the independent variables but its treatment is outside the scope of regression analysis. If the independent variables are not error-free, this is an errors-in-variables model, also outside this scope.
Other examples of nonlinear functions include exponential functions, logarithmic functions, trigonometric functions, power functions, Gaussian function, and Lorentz distributions. Some functions, such as the exponential or logarithmic functions, can be transformed so that they are linear. When so transformed, standard linear regression can be performed but must be applied with caution. See Linearization§Transformation, below, for more details.
In general, there is no closed-form expression for the best-fitting parameters, as there is in linear regression. Usually numerical optimization algorithms are applied to determine the best-fitting parameters. Again in contrast to linear regression, there may be many local minima of the function to be optimized and even the global minimum may produce a biased estimate. In practice, estimated values of the parameters are used, in conjunction with the optimization algorithm, to attempt to find the global minimum of a sum of squares.
For details concerning nonlinear data modeling see least squares and non-linear least squares.
The assumption underlying this procedure is that the model can be approximated by a linear function, namely a first-order Taylor series:
where . It follows from this that the least squares estimators are given by
compare generalized least squares with covariance matrix proportional to the unit matrix. The nonlinear regression statistics are computed and used as in linear regression statistics, but using J in place of X in the formulas. The linear approximation introduces bias into the statistics. Therefore, more caution than usual is required in interpreting statistics derived from a nonlinear model.
The best-fit curve is often assumed to be that which minimizes the sum of squared residuals. This is the ordinary least squares (OLS) approach. However, in cases where the dependent variable does not have constant variance, a sum of weighted squared residuals may be minimized; see weighted least squares. Each weight should ideally be equal to the reciprocal of the variance of the observation, but weights may be recomputed on each iteration, in an iteratively weighted least squares algorithm.
Some nonlinear regression problems can be moved to a linear domain by a suitable transformation of the model formulation.
For example, consider the nonlinear regression problem
with parameters a and b and with multiplicative error term U. If we take the logarithm of both sides, this becomes
where u = ln(U), suggesting estimation of the unknown parameters by a linear regression of ln(y) on x, a computation that does not require iterative optimization. However, use of a nonlinear transformation requires caution. The influences of the data values will change, as will the error structure of the model and the interpretation of any inferential results. These may not be desired effects. On the other hand, depending on what the largest source of error is, a nonlinear transformation may distribute the errors in a Gaussian fashion, so the choice to perform a nonlinear transformation must be informed by modeling considerations.
For Michaelis–Menten kinetics, the linear Lineweaver–Burk plot
of 1/v against 1/[S] has been much used. However, since it is very sensitive to data error and is strongly biased toward fitting the data in a particular range of the independent variable, [S], its use is strongly discouraged.
For error distributions that belong to the exponential family, a link function may be used to transform the parameters under the Generalized linear model framework.
The independent or explanatory variable (say X) can be split up into classes or segments and linear regression can be performed per segment. Segmented regression with confidence analysis may yield the result that the dependent or response variable (say Y) behaves differently in the various segments.
The figure shows that the soil salinity (X) initially exerts no influence on the crop yield (Y) of mustard, until a critical or threshold value (breakpoint), after which the yield is affected negatively.
The method of least squares is a standard approach in regression analysis to approximate the solution of overdetermined systems by minimizing the sum of the squares of the residuals made in the results of each individual equation.
In statistics, the Gauss–Markov theorem states that the ordinary least squares (OLS) estimator has the lowest sampling variance within the class of linear unbiased estimators, if the errors in the linear regression model are uncorrelated, have equal variances and expectation value of zero. The errors do not need to be normal, nor do they need to be independent and identically distributed. The requirement that the estimator be unbiased cannot be dropped, since biased estimators exist with lower variance. See, for example, the James–Stein estimator, ridge regression, or simply any degenerate estimator.
In statistics, the logistic model is used to model the probability of a certain class or event existing such as pass/fail, win/lose, alive/dead or healthy/sick. This can be extended to model several classes of events such as determining whether an image contains a cat, dog, lion, etc. Each object being detected in the image would be assigned a probability between 0 and 1, with a sum of one.
In statistics, a generalized linear model (GLM) is a flexible generalization of ordinary linear regression. The GLM generalizes linear regression by allowing the linear model to be related to the response variable via a link function and by allowing the magnitude of the variance of each measurement to be a function of its predicted value.
In statistical modeling, regression analysis is a set of statistical processes for estimating the relationships between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables. The most common form of regression analysis is linear regression, in which one finds the line that most closely fits the data according to a specific mathematical criterion. For example, the method of ordinary least squares computes the unique line that minimizes the sum of squared differences between the true data and that line. For specific mathematical reasons, this allows the researcher to estimate the conditional expectation of the dependent variable when the independent variables take on a given set of values. Less common forms of regression use slightly different procedures to estimate alternative location parameters or estimate the conditional expectation across a broader collection of non-linear models.
In mathematics and computing, the Levenberg–Marquardt algorithm, also known as the damped least-squares (DLS) method, is used to solve non-linear least squares problems. These minimization problems arise especially in least squares curve fitting. Applied to artificial neural network training, a Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm often converges faster than first-order backpropagation methods.
In applied statistics, total least squares is a type of errors-in-variables regression, a least squares data modeling technique in which observational errors on both dependent and independent variables are taken into account. It is a generalization of Deming regression and also of orthogonal regression, and can be applied to both linear and non-linear models.
In statistics, a confidence region is a multi-dimensional generalization of a confidence interval. It is a set of points in an n-dimensional space, often represented as an ellipsoid around a point which is an estimated solution to a problem, although other shapes can occur.
The Gauss–Newton algorithm is used to solve non-linear least squares problems. It is a modification of Newton's method for finding a minimum of a function. Unlike Newton's method, the Gauss–Newton algorithm can only be used to minimize a sum of squared function values, but it has the advantage that second derivatives, which can be challenging to compute, are not required.
In statistics, ordinary least squares (OLS) is a type of linear least squares method for estimating the unknown parameters in a linear regression model. OLS chooses the parameters of a linear function of a set of explanatory variables by the principle of least squares: minimizing the sum of the squares of the differences between the observed dependent variable in the given dataset and those predicted by the linear function of the independent variable.
Weighted least squares (WLS), also known as weighted linear regression, is a generalization of ordinary least squares and linear regression in which knowledge of the variance of observations is incorporated into the regression. WLS is also a specialization of generalized least squares.
In statistics, multinomial logistic regression is a classification method that generalizes logistic regression to multiclass problems, i.e. with more than two possible discrete outcomes. That is, it is a model that is used to predict the probabilities of the different possible outcomes of a categorically distributed dependent variable, given a set of independent variables.
In statistics, binomial regression is a regression analysis technique in which the response has a binomial distribution: it is the number of successes in a series of independent Bernoulli trials, where each trial has probability of success . In binomial regression, the probability of a success is related to explanatory variables: the corresponding concept in ordinary regression is to relate the mean value of the unobserved response to explanatory variables.
In statistics, Bayesian linear regression is an approach to linear regression in which the statistical analysis is undertaken within the context of Bayesian inference. When the regression model has errors that have a normal distribution, and if a particular form of prior distribution is assumed, explicit results are available for the posterior probability distributions of the model's parameters.
Non-linear least squares is the form of least squares analysis used to fit a set of m observations with a model that is non-linear in n unknown parameters (m ≥ n). It is used in some forms of nonlinear regression. The basis of the method is to approximate the model by a linear one and to refine the parameters by successive iterations. There are many similarities to linear least squares, but also some significant differences. In economic theory, the non-linear least squares method is applied in (i) the probit regression, (ii) threshold regression, (iii) smooth regression, (iv) logistic link regression, (v) Box-Cox transformed regressors.
In statistics, principal component regression (PCR) is a regression analysis technique that is based on principal component analysis (PCA). More specifically, PCR is used for estimating the unknown regression coefficients in a standard linear regression model.
In statistics, polynomial regression is a form of regression analysis in which the relationship between the independent variable x and the dependent variable y is modelled as an nth degree polynomial in x. Polynomial regression fits a nonlinear relationship between the value of x and the corresponding conditional mean of y, denoted E(y |x). Although polynomial regression fits a nonlinear model to the data, as a statistical estimation problem it is linear, in the sense that the regression function E(y | x) is linear in the unknown parameters that are estimated from the data. For this reason, polynomial regression is considered to be a special case of multiple linear regression.
Linear least squares (LLS) is the least squares approximation of linear functions to data. It is a set of formulations for solving statistical problems involved in linear regression, including variants for ordinary (unweighted), weighted, and generalized (correlated) residuals. Numerical methods for linear least squares include inverting the matrix of the normal equations and orthogonal decomposition methods.
In statistics and in machine learning, a linear predictor function is a linear function of a set of coefficients and explanatory variables, whose value is used to predict the outcome of a dependent variable. This sort of function usually comes in linear regression, where the coefficients are called regression coefficients. However, they also occur in various types of linear classifiers, as well as in various other models, such as principal component analysis and factor analysis. In many of these models, the coefficients are referred to as "weights".
In statistics, linear regression is a linear approach for modelling the relationship between a scalar response and one or more explanatory variables. The case of one explanatory variable is called simple linear regression; for more than one, the process is called multiple linear regression. This term is distinct from multivariate linear regression, where multiple correlated dependent variables are predicted, rather than a single scalar variable.