# Always positive function with regression

1. Dec 28, 2009

### mignu

I'm attempting to solve a multiple regression.
My problem is that I want the resultant function to be always positive.

I need a regression of the machining cutting force for several values of cutting parameters (cutting speed, depth of cut, ...).
The cutting force has to be always positive, but with my limited set of parameters (i don't have ALL the possibile speeds or all the possible depths) the resultant function for the force isn't always positive.

For exaple: in my experiments I have the tool diameter varying from 15 to 70. If I use my regression and try to calculate the cutting force, for example, with diameter 10 I get a negative value. That's unacceptable, the cutting force has to be positive.

I need to constrain the regression so that the function is always positive with the coefficients found and for ANY value of cutting parameters (or at least for positive values of cutting parameters, cause negative values of diameter, depth of cut, ... don't exist too). Some coefficients has to be positive and others negative, but the final function has to be always positive for positive cutting parameters values.

How can I do this? I use Matlab but any program would be great if it solves my problem.

2. Dec 30, 2009

### EnumaElish

Putting aside your empirical question for a moment; what does theory tell you should happen to cutting force as diameter goes to zero? Should it also go to zero, or go to some other value, or become infinite?

3. Dec 30, 2009

"For exaple: in my experiments I have the tool diameter varying from 15 to 70. If I use my regression and try to calculate the cutting force, for example, with diameter 10 I get a negative value."

You also neglected a basic idea of regression: technically, your regression equation is valid only for the collected x-values: without data at x = 10, you have no basis for using the equation.

4. Dec 31, 2009

### EnumaElish

Certainly the prediction confidence interval expands very rapidly as one moves beyond the limits of observed data.

5. Dec 31, 2009

it can be a little more than that. back in the "old days" of photography, when film was used, the response curves for exposure were important to know. the curves were incredibly linear in the middle (for typical exposure times), but for extremely long or extremely short exposures there was a huge departure from a linear pattern - plateaus to the right and left, basically. estimations for exposure based on the linear portion, but aimed at the extremes, were doomed to fail - you needed data from those plateaus to know the "correct" exposure values.

the behavior of a regression model is impossible to determine outside the range of collected data. the software will let you do it, but it doesn't mean the results are meaningful.

6. Dec 31, 2009

### EnumaElish

Your post nicely highlights that there is more than one issue related to the current problem.

If "theory" (or common sense) tells me that the true model is non-linear, then I know that linear regression is at best a local approximation, which is your point.

But suppose that I had a theory that told me exactly what the true (linear or nonlinear) model is, for example, y = b1/x + b2 x + b3 x^2 (or: [insert complicated, nonlinear formula]). Then I could fit _this_ model to data, yet even then I need to worry about predicting outside of the range, because the prediction interval inflates rather rapidly.

Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
7. Dec 31, 2009

Ah, if I understand this point, I would say there is no need for estimation after the determinationof the parameters. I make this comment viewing your hypothetical model as deterministic. If it isn't meant to be, I apologize for being thick tonight.

8. Jan 1, 2010

### EnumaElish

That was not the point I was trying to make, but you needn't have apologized. My post was far from clear. Here's a hypothetical example: y measures likelihood of death within 5 years, x is the cholesterol level. And z is defined as z = -Log(1/y -1), or the "logit value." Since z = -Log(1/y -1), I can also write y = 1/(1 + Exp(z)).

y , x , z
0.990872864 , 9 , 4.687334231
0.943313766 , 8 , 2.811867565
0.644459353 , 7 , 0.594772174
0.785788908 , 7 , 1.299726253
0.719638278 , 3 , 0.94266806
0.988224114 , 9 , 4.429855602
0.54455151 , 5 , 0.178679914
0.977860268 , 7 , 3.78799294
0.766413964 , 4 , 1.188171972
0.987292192 , 8 , 4.352749407
0.672823862 , 4 , 0.720984899
0.836917534 , 4 , 1.635469543
0.988351439 , 7 , 4.440855722
0.982624412 , 7 , 4.035160735
0.867312958 , 5 , 1.877406589
0.849853063 , 5 , 1.733449073
0.839829058 , 6 , 1.656956736
0.96094483 , 7 , 3.202941748
0.695135331 , 5 , 0.824238576
0.779657846 , 6 , 1.263673583

Suppose that the true model is logit: z = a0 + a1 x + u. Alternatively, I can be "naive" and estimate a linear probability model, as y = b0 + b1 x + v. My estimation results, rounded to two decimals, are:

Logit: z = -1.81 + 0.67x (F stat = 23.97)
Linear: y = 0.52 + 0.05x (F stat = 13.74)

Now suppose I'd like to predict the likelihood of death Y(x) for two out-of-sample x values, x = 11, and x = 0. The logit model gives me predicted probabilities Y(11) = 0.9960 and Y(0) = 0.1403 respectively. These are reasonable probability values. Using the linear model, however, I obtain Y(11) = 1.0939 and Y(0) = 0.5206, and I calculate the 2-standard-deviation prediction interval around Y(0) as (0.2645, 0.7766) in the linear model. To summarize the prediction results:

Logit: z = -1.81 + 0.67x
0.99598333 , 11 , 5.513277315
0.140328661 , 0 , -1.812562899

Linear: y = 0.52 + 0.05x
1.093857079 , 11
0.520578354 , 0
Prediction interval around 0.520578354 = (0.264523738, 0.776632969)

So there are at least two problems with out-of-sample prediction using the linear model. First, it can produce a "probability" value > 1. (This is similar to the problem in the OP.) But second, even when it doesn't, the prediction interval can become quite large.

The solution for the first problem is to estimate the "true model" (in this case, the logit model). There isn't a solution for the second problem, other than exercising caution when predicting out of the sample.

Even when the linear model predicts a probability value within the [0,1] interval, it doesn't mean it's the right (or approximately right) predicted value. That's apparent from the fact that the predicted value for x = 0 from the logit model, 0.1403, lies outside of the prediction interval (0.2645, 0.7766) for x= 0 in the linear model. I think this was statdad's point, one should be extra careful about extending a "simplistic" model beyond the sample because it is (at best) a local approximation. (The remedy is to estimate the true model.)

Last edited: Jan 2, 2010
9. Jan 3, 2010