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Bug in NonlinearRegress on NDSolve

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg14840] Bug in NonlinearRegress on NDSolve
  • From: Mike Trefry <mike.trefry at>
  • Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 02:16:50 -0500
  • Organization: CSIRO, Western Australia
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at


I want to use NonlinearRegress to determine confidence intervals (w.r.t.
measured data) on parameters of pde systems solved via NDSolve, but it
doesn't seem to work. Here's the problem:

This dynamic function solves a 1-parameter (alpha) pde:

mgt[alpha_?NumericQ] := mgt[alpha] = Module[{sol},
sol = First[NDSolve[
         {D[u[x, t], t] == D[u[x, t], x, x] + alpha*x*u[x,t],
         u[x, 0] == 1 - x^2, Derivative[1, 0][u][0, t] == 0,
         u[1, t] == 0}, u, {x, 0, 1}, {t, 0, 1}]]; u /. sol]

Invoking mgt for a given value returns an InterpolatingFunction:



We can use the function to generate some data values perturbed by noise:

data = Flatten[Table[{x, t,
     Random[Real, {-0.01, 0.01}] + mgt[6][x, t]},
    {x, 0.2, 0.8, 0.3}, {t, 0.1, 0.7, 0.2}],1];

and we can successfully use FindMinimum to optimise alpha against data:

leastsquares[alpha_?NumericQ] :=
  Plus @@ Apply[(mgt[alpha][#1, #2] - #3)^2 & , data, {1}]

FindMinimum[leastsquares[alpha], {alpha, -1.5, -2}]

{0.000442707, {alpha->6.0014}}

What about nonlinear regression?


NonlinearRegress[data, mgt[alpha][x, t], {x, t},{alpha, -2}]

This fails, saying "SingularValues::"svdf": SingularValues has received
a matrix with infinite precision..."

I'd like to know what I am doing wrong!


Mike Trefry
<mike.trefry at>
Centre for Groundwater Studies
CSIRO Land and Water
Floreat  WA 6014

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