[R] nls confidence intervals

Paul, David A paulda at BATTELLE.ORG
Thu Aug 14 17:48:19 CEST 2003

You can use the well-known Taylor series approximation to the
variance of an arbitrary function:

Var( f(X) ) ~= Sum( s[i]^2*D2[i] ) + 2*Sum( Sum( s[i,j]*D[i]*D[j] ) )

where D2[i] is the second partial derivative of f(x) with respect
to the ith parameter and D[j] is the first partial derivative of f(x)
with respect to the jth parameter.  The indices on the summations
for 2*Sum( Sum( ... ) ) are i=1 to (p-1) and j>i, respectively, 
where p denotes the total number of parameters in the model.  Also,
s[i]^2 denotes the ith diagonal element of the variance-covariance
matrix for the model, and s[i,j] denotes an off-diagonal element
of the same matrix.  You should be able to use vcov( ) to extract
the variance-covariance matrix of your fitted model.

This approximation will estimate the functional form of the variance
of f(X).  To get the approximate variance of f(X) for a specific 
value of X simply plug in X=x.

After this, you will need to add the estimated variance of the
residuals and take the square root to obtain the standard error
used in calculating prediction intervals.  I have used this approach
for some highly nonlinear functions in the past, and the approximation
is only "good" when it is reasonable to assume that E(f(x)) ~= f(E(x)).
[This assumption is present in the derivation of the Taylor 
approximation.]  When this is not a reasonable assumption, the
approximation can be horrible.  In other words, the more locally linear
your nonlinear function is, the better the approximation will work.

Hope this helps,
  david paul

-----Original Message-----
From: Enrique Portilla [mailto:portillae at marlab.ac.uk] 
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2003 9:28 AM
To: R-help at stat.math.ethz.ch
Subject: [R] nls confidence intervals

Does anyone know how to compute the confidence prediction intervals for a
nonlinear least squares models (nls)?

I was trying to use the function 'predict' as I usually do for other models
fitting (glm, lm, gams...), but it seems that se.fit, and interval
computation is not implemented for the nls...



Fisheries Research Services,
Marine Laboratory,
Victoria Road,
Aberdeen, UK.
Tel. 44 (0) 1224 295314

R-help at stat.math.ethz.ch mailing list

More information about the R-help mailing list