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Confused on Linear Least Square Fits very basic.

  1. Mar 29, 2010 #1
    Quite confused. I've read the book/online definitions yet I suppose I may need a simpler explanation.

    Lets say I have a table of x y values.

    x 1 2 3 4 5
    y 6 7 8 9 10

    how would I carry out the linear least squares fit of the data to determine the slope and y-intercept?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 29, 2010 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    How about you tell us a definition that you've seen (or give us a link to it), and tell us where you get stuck in trying to apply it?
  4. Mar 30, 2010 #3


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    Science Advisor

    As jtbell says, there are a number of equivalent ways to do that. Not necessarily the simplest, but the most direct is this: Let the line be y= mx+ b where "m" is the slope and "b" is the y-intercept. For x= 1, the "calculated value" would be y= m+ h while the true value is 6. The "square error" is [itex](m+ b- 6)^2[/itex]. Similarly, for x= 2 the "calculated value" would be y= 2m+ b while the true value is 7. The "square error" is [itex](2m+b- 7)^2[/itex]. Repeating that for all given values, the "total square error" would be [itex](m+ b- 6)^2+ (2m+ b- 7)^2+ (3m+ b- 8)^2+ (4m+ b- 9)^2+ (5m+ b- 10)^2[/math]. To minimize that, take the partial derivatives with respect to m and b and set them equal to 0.

    Of course, for this particular example, it is obvious that the line y= x+ 5 goes exactly through every point so that is what you would get.
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