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Re: Is there a bug in FIT?

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg4402] Re: Is there a bug in FIT?
  • From: rubin at (Paul A. Rubin)
  • Date: Fri, 19 Jul 1996 03:26:46 -0400
  • Organization: Michigan State University
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

In article <4rq9ek$ld5 at>,
   welter at (Jason Welter) wrote:
->I am trying to fit some data and have discovered that the
->FIT function does'nt work with the following data:
->data1 = {{1.42 10^13, -1.26}, {1.5 10^13, -1.3}, {1.63 10^13, -1.37}};
->When I do:
->funcdata1 = Fit[data1,{1,x},x];
->Show[{Plot[data1,{x,1.42 10^13,1.63 10^13}],ListPlot[data1]},
->I get terrible results, but when I take the exponents out:
->data2 = {{1.42, -1.26}, {1.5, -1.3}, {1.63, -1.37}};
->an I do:
->funcdata2 = Fit[data2,{1,x},x];
->It fits it just fine.  What is wrong?

I suspect it's a problem with mathematical precision.  The formula for the 
coefficient estimates is 

  Inverse[ Transpose[ x ] . x ] . Transpose[ x ] . y,

where x is the data matrix and y the vector of dependent values.  In your 
case, the data matrix is

  {{1, 1.42 10^13}, {1, 1.5 10^13}, {1, 1.63 10^13}},

the first column (of 1's) corresponding to the constant term in your model. 
 When you go to compute the inverse, the disparity in scaling of the 
columns causes rounding headaches.

Now I computed the coefficients explicitly (as written above), using the 
formula above, with both versions of your data, and got correct answers 
both times.  That's because Inverse[] coped pretty well with the 
conditioning problem.  Fit, on the other hand, may not be using Inverse, 
but rather some other solution method which is more challenged by ill 


* Paul A. Rubin                                  Phone: (517) 432-3509   *
* Department of Management                       Fax:   (517) 432-1111   *
* Eli Broad Graduate School of Management        Net:   RUBIN at MSU.EDU    *
* Michigan State University                                              *
* East Lansing, MI  48824-1122  (USA)                                    *
Mathematicians are like Frenchmen:  whenever you say something to them,
they translate it into their own language, and at once it is something
entirely different.                                    J. W. v. GOETHE


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