# [Rd] [r-devel] integrate over an infinite region produces wrong results depending on scaling

William Dunlap wdun|@p @end|ng |rom t|bco@com
Sun Apr 14 18:52:59 CEST 2019

```integrate(f, xmin, xmax) will have problems when f(x) is 0 over large parts
of (xmin,xmax).  It doesn't have any clues to where the non-zero regions
are.  It computes f(x) at 21 points at each step and if all of those are
zero (or some other constant?) for a few steps, it calls it a day.  If you
can narrow down the integration interval to the interesting part of the
function's domain you will get better results.

By the way, here is a way to see where integrate(f) evaluates f()  (the
keep.xy=TRUE argument doesn't seem to do anything).

> debugIntegrate <- function(f)
{
n_calls <- 0
x_args <- list()
other_args <- list()
value <- list()
function(x, ...) {
n_calls <<- n_calls + 1
x_args[[n_calls]] <<- x
other_args[[n_calls]] <<- list(...)
v <- f(x, ...)
value[[n_calls]] <<- v
v
}
}

> str(integrate(DF <- debugIntegrate(f), -Inf, 0, numstab = sc))
List of 5
\$ value       : num 1.5
\$ abs.error   : num 0.000145
\$ subdivisions: int 2
\$ message     : chr "OK"
\$ call        : language integrate(f = DF <- debugIntegrate(f), lower =
-Inf, upper = 0, numstab = sc)
- attr(*, "class")= chr "integrate"
> curve(f(x, sc), min(unlist(environment(DF)\$x_args)), 0, n = 501, main =
"Scaled f", bty = "n")
> with(environment(DF), points(unlist(x_args), unlist(value)))

Bill Dunlap
TIBCO Software
wdunlap tibco.com

On Sun, Apr 14, 2019 at 5:13 AM Andreï V. Kostyrka <andrei.kostyrka using uni.lu>
wrote:

> Dear all,
>
> This is the first time I am posting to the r-devel list. On
> StackOverflow, they suggested that the strange behaviour of integrate()
> was more bug-like. I am providing a short version of the question (full
> one with plots: https://stackoverflow.com/q/55639401).
>
> Suppose one wants integrate a function that is just a product of two
> density functions (like gamma). The support of the random variable is
> (-Inf, 0]. The scale parameter of the distribution is quite small
> (around 0.01), so often, the standard integration routine would fail to
> integrate a function that is non-zero on a very small section of the
> negative line (like [-0.02, -0.01], where it takes huge values, and
> almost 0 everywhere else). R’s integrate would often return the machine
> epsilon as a result. So I stretch the function around the zero by an
> inverse of the scale parameter, compute the integral, and then divide it
> by the scale. Sometimes, this re-scaling also failed, so I did both if
> the first result was very small.
>
> Today when integration of the rescaled function suddenly yielded a value
> of 1.5 instead of 3.5 (not even zero). The MWE is below.
>
> cons <- -0.020374721416129591
> sc <- 0.00271245601724757383
> sh <- 5.704
> f <- function(x, numstab = 1) dgamma(cons - x * numstab, shape = sh,
> scale = sc) * dgamma(-x * numstab, shape = sh, scale = sc) * numstab
>
> curve(f, -0.06, 0, n = 501, main = "Unscaled f", bty = "n")
> curve(f(x, sc), -0.06 / sc, 0, n = 501, main = "Scaled f", bty = "n")
>
> sum(f(seq(-0.08, 0, 1e-6))) * 1e-6 #  Checking by summation: 3.575294
> sum(f(seq(-30, 0, 1e-4), numstab = sc)) * 1e-4 # True value, 3.575294
> str(integrate(f, -Inf, 0)) # Gives 3.575294
> # \$ value       : num 3.58
> # \$ abs.error   : num 1.71e-06
> # \$ subdivisions: int 10
> str(integrate(f, -Inf, 0, numstab = sc))
> # \$ value       : num 1.5 # What?!
> # \$ abs.error   : num 0.000145 # What?!
> # \$ subdivisions: int 2
>
> It stop at just two subdivisions! The problem is, I cannot try various
> stabilising multipliers for the function because I have to compute this
> integral thousands of times for thousands of parameter values on
> thousands of sample windows for hundreds on models, so even in the
> super-computer cluster, this takes weeks. Besides that, reducing the
> rel.tol just to 1e-5 or 1e-6, helped a bit, but I am not sure whether
> this guarantees success (and reducing it to 1e-7 slowed down the
> computations in some cases). And I have looked at the Fortran code of
> the quadrature just to see the integration rule, and was wondering.
>
> How can I make sure that the integration routine will not produce such
> wrong results for such a function, and the integration will still be fast?
>
> Yours sincerely,
> Andreï V. Kostyrka
>
> ______________________________________________
> R-devel using r-project.org mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
>

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