Tag Archives: GLM

Computational Time of Predictive Models

Tuesday, at the end of my 5-hour crash course on machine learning for actuaries, Pierre asked me an interesting question about computational time of different techniques. I’ve been presenting the philosophy of various algorithm, but I forgot to mention computational time. I wanted to try several classification algorithms on the dataset used to illustrate the techniques

> rm(list=ls())
> myocarde=read.table(
> levels(myocarde$PRONO)=c("Death","Survival")

But the dataset is rather small, with 71 observations and 7 explanatory variables. So I decided to replicate the observations, and to add some covariates,

> levels(myocarde$PRONO)=c("Death","Survival")
> idx=rep(1:nrow(myocarde),each=100)
> TPS=matrix(NA,30,10)
> myocarde_large=myocarde[idx,]
> k=23
> M=data.frame(matrix(rnorm(k*
+ nrow(myocarde_large)),nrow(myocarde_large),k))
> names(M)=paste("X",1:k,sep="")
> myocarde_large=cbind(myocarde_large,M)
> dim(myocarde_large)
[1] 7100   31
> object.size(myocarde_large)
2049.064 kbytes

The dataset is not big… but at least, it does not take 0.0001 sec. to run a regression.  Actually, to run a logistic regression, it takes 0.1 second

> system.time(fit< glm(PRONO~.,
+ data=myocarde_large, family="binomial"))
       user      system     elapsed 
      0.114       0.016       0.134 
> object.size(fit)
9,313.600 kbytes

And I was surprised that the regression object was 9Mo, which is more than four times the size of the dataset. With a large dataset, 100 times larger,

> dim(myocarde_large_2)
[1] 710000     31

it takes 20 sec.

> system.time(fit<-glm(PRONO~.,
+ data=myocarde_large_2, family="binomial"))
utilisateur     système      écoulé 
     16.394       2.576      19.819 
> object.size(fit)
90,9025.600 kbytes

and the object is ‘only’ ten times bigger.

Continue reading Computational Time of Predictive Models

Modelling Occurence of Events, with some Exposure

This afternoon, an interesting point was raised, and I wanted to get back on it (since I did publish a post on that same topic a long time ago). How can we adapt a logistic regression when all the observations do not have the same exposure. Here the model is the following: ,

  • the occurence of an event https://latex.codecogs.com/gif.latex?Y_i^\star on the period https://latex.codecogs.com/gif.latex?[0,1] is unobserved
  • the occurence of an event https://latex.codecogs.com/gif.latex?Y_i on https://latex.codecogs.com/gif.latex?[0,E_i] is observed (as well as https://latex.codecogs.com/gif.latex?E_i)

If we assume that the ‘occurence of an event’ is the first occurence of a Poisson processus, we can prove that

i.e. no event occur on  if no event occur on  and no event occur on . Assuming independence between the two, we can prove that we have


With words, it means that the probability of not having a claim in the first six months of the year is the square root of not have a claim over a year. Which makes sense.

Continue reading Modelling Occurence of Events, with some Exposure

Choosing a Classifier

In order to illustrate the problem of chosing a classification model consider some simulated data,

> n = 500
> set.seed(1)
> X = rnorm(n)
> ma = 10-(X+1.5)^2*2
> mb = -10+(X-1.5)^2*2
> M = cbind(ma,mb)
> set.seed(1)
> Z = sample(1:2,size=n,replace=TRUE)
> Y = ma*(Z==1)+mb*(Z==2)+rnorm(n)*5
> df = data.frame(Z=as.factor(Z),X,Y)

A first strategy is to split the dataset in two parts, a training dataset, and a testing dataset.

> df1 = training = df[1:300,]
> df2 = testing  = df[301:500,]
  • The Holdout Method: Training and Testing Datasets

The two datasets can be visualised below, with the training dataset on top, and the testing dataset below

> plot(df1$X,df1$Y,pch=19,col=c(rgb(1,0,0,.4),
+ rgb(0,0,1,.4))[df1$Z])

Continue reading Choosing a Classifier

I Fought the (distribution) Law (and the Law did not win)

A few days ago, I was asked if we should spend a lot of time to choose the distribution we use, in GLMs, for (actuarial) ratemaking. On that topic, I usually claim that the family is not the most important parameter in the regression model. Consider the following dataset

> db <- data.frame(x=c(1,2,3,4,5),y=c(1,2,4,2,6))
> plot(db,xlim=c(0,6),ylim=c(-1,8),pch=19)

To visualize a regression model, use the following code

> nd=data.frame(x=seq(0,6,by=.1))
> add_predict = function(reg){
+ prd1=predict(reg,newdata=nd,se.fit = TRUE,type="response")
+ y1=prd1$fit
+ y1_upp=prd1$fit+prd1$residual.scale*1.96*
+ y1_low=prd1$fit-prd1$residual.scale*1.96*
+ polygon(c(nd$x,rev(nd$x)),c(y1_upp,
rev(y1_low)),col="light green",angle=90,
+ lines(nd$x,y1,col="red",lwd=2)
+ }

For instance, with a Poisson regression (with a log link function) we get

> plot(db)
> reg1=glm(y~x,family=poisson(link="log"),
+ data=db)
> add_predict(reg1)

while, with a Gaussian regresion (but still with a log link function), we get

> plot(db)
> reg2=glm(y~x,family=gaussian(link="log"),
+ data=db)
> add_predict(reg2)

If we just care about the expected value of our prediction, the output is more or less the same

> plot(db)
> lines(nd$x,predict(reg1,newdata=nd,
+ type="response"),col="red",lwd=1.5)
> lines(nd$x,predict(reg2,newdata=nd,
+ type="response"),col="blue",lwd=1.5)

So, indeed, forget about the (distribution) law when running a GLM. Not convinced? Consider – on the same dataset – a Poisson regression (with an identity link function this time)

> plot(db)
> reg1=glm(y~x,family=poisson(link="identity"),
+ data=db)
> add_predict(reg1)

while, with a Gaussian regresion (but still with an identity link function), we get

> plot(db)
> reg2=glm(y~x,family=gaussian(link="identity"),
+ data=db)
> add_predict(reg2)

Again, if we just plot the expected value of our prediction, the output is more or less the same

> plot(db)
> lines(nd$x,predict(reg1,newdata=nd,
+ type="response"),col="red",lwd=1.5)
> lines(nd$x,predict(reg2,newdata=nd,
+ type="response"),col="blue",lwd=1.5)

So clearly, the simplistic message you should not care too much about the (distribution) law seems to be valid…

Continue reading I Fought the (distribution) Law (and the Law did not win)

Visualising a Classification in High Dimension, part 2

A few weeks ago, I published a post on Visualising a Classification in High Dimension, based on the use of a principal component analysis, to get a projection on the first two components. Following that post, I was wondering what could be done in the context of a classification on categorical covariates. A natural idea would be to consider a correspondance analysis, and to run a similar code.

Consider here the dataset used in a recent post,

> source("http://freakonometrics.free.fr/import_data_credit.R")

If we consider a correspondance analysis, we get

> library(FactoMineR)
> acm=MCA(train.db,quali.sup = 
+ which(names(train.db,)=="class"),ncp=10)

For the covariates (including also the variable we want to model, considered here as some supplementary variable), the visualisation – on the first two components – is

and for the individuals

Continue reading Visualising a Classification in High Dimension, part 2

Classification with Categorical Variables (the fuzzy side)

The Gaussian and the (log) Poisson regressions share a very interesting property,

i.e. the average predicted value is the empirical mean of our sample.

> mean(predict(lm(dist~speed,data=cars)))
[1] 42.98
> mean(cars$dist)
[1] 42.98

One can prove that it is also the prediction for the average individual in our sample

> predict(lm(dist~speed,data=cars),
+ newdata=data.frame(speed=mean(cars$speed))) 

The geometric interpretation is that the regression line passes through the centroid,

> plot(cars)
> abline(lm(dist~speed,data=cars),col="red")
> abline(h=mean(cars$dist),col="blue")
> abline(v=mean(cars$speed),col="blue")
> points(mean(cars$speed),mean(cars$dist))

But in all other cases, it is no longer the case. Consider for instance the case of a logistic regression. And to ask for something even more complicated, consider the case where we have only categorical explanatory variables. In that context, it is more difficult to get a prediction for the “average individual”. Unless we consider some fuzzy interpretation of the regression.

Continue reading Classification with Categorical Variables (the fuzzy side)

Regression Models, It’s Not Only About Interpretation

Yesterday, I did upload a post where I tried to show that “standard” regression models where not performing bad. At least if you include splines (multivariate splines) to take into accound joint effects, and nonlinearities. So far, I do not discuss the possible high number of features (but with boostrap procedures, it is possible to assess something related to variable importance, that people from machine learning like).

But my post was not complete: I was simply plotting the prediction obtained by some model. And it “looked like” the regression was nice, but so were the random forrest, the https://latex.codecogs.com/gif.latex?k-nearest neighbour and boosting algorithm. What if we compare those models on new data?

Continue reading Regression Models, It’s Not Only About Interpretation

On Some Alternatives to Regression Models

When you start discussing with people in machine learning, you quickly hear something like “forget your econometric models, your GLMs, I can easily find a machine learning ‘model’ that can beat yours”. I am usually very sceptical, especially when I hear “easily” or “always“. I have no problem about the fact that I use old econometric models, but I had the feeling that things aren’t that easy. I can understand that we might have problems when we do have a lot of features (I am still working on that, I’ll get back to this point soon), but I have the feeling that I can still capture interactions, and non-linearities with standard econometric models as well as any machine learning algorithm.

Just to illustrate, consider the following ‘model


where https://latex.codecogs.com/gif.latex?m(\cdot) is (just to illustrate)

> n <- 5000
> rtf <- function(x1, x2) { sin(x1+x2)/(x1+x2) }
> xgrid <- seq(1,6,length=31)
> ygrid <- seq(1,6,length=31)
> zgrid <- outer(xgrid,ygrid,rtf)
> persp(xgrid,ygrid,zgrid,theta=30, phi=30, 
+ col="green", ticktype="detailed",shade=TRUE)

Continue reading On Some Alternatives to Regression Models

Visualising a Classification in High Dimension

So far, when discussing classification, we’ve been playing on my toy-dataset (actually, I should no claim it’s mine, it is inspired by the one used in the introduction of Boosting, by Robert Schapire and Yoav Freund). But in ral life, there are more observations, and more explanatory variables.With more than two explanatory variables, it starts to be more complicated to visualise. For instance, consider


where we have observations from people in E.R., for infarctus, and we want to understand who did survive, to get a predictive model. But before running some classifier, let us visualise our data. Since we have seven explanatory variables and our class (survival or death), we can go for a PCA.

library(FactoMineR) # ACP (sur les var continues)

To add the death/survival variable, treat it as numerical 0/1 variable (at least to get a direction)


The nice thing is that we see here where variables are colinear with that one. It is also possible to visualise individuals, and classes, too

plot(acp, habillage = 8,col.hab=c("red","blue"))

Continue reading Visualising a Classification in High Dimension

Supervised Classification, Logistic and Multinomial

We will start, in our Data Science course,  to discuss classification techniques (in the context of supervised models). Consider the following case, with 10 points, and two classes (red and blue)

> clr1 <- c(rgb(1,0,0,1),rgb(0,0,1,1))
> clr2 <- c(rgb(1,0,0,.2),rgb(0,0,1,.2))
> x <- c(.4,.55,.65,.9,.1,.35,.5,.15,.2,.85)
> y <- c(.85,.95,.8,.87,.5,.55,.5,.2,.1,.3)
> z <- c(1,1,1,1,1,0,0,1,0,0)
> df <- data.frame(x,y,z)
> plot(x,y,pch=19,cex=2,col=clr1[z+1])

To get a prediction, i.e. a partition of the space in two parts, consider some logistic regression

> reg=glm(z~x+y,data=df,family=binomial)
> summary(reg)
glm(formula = z ~ x + y, family = binomial, data = df)
Deviance Residuals: 
    Min       1Q   Median       3Q      Max  
-1.6593  -0.4400   0.2564   0.5830   1.5374  
            Estimate Std. Error z value Pr(>|z|)
(Intercept)   -1.706      1.999  -0.854    0.393
x             -5.489      5.360  -1.024    0.306
y              8.568      5.515   1.554    0.120
(Dispersion parameter for binomial family taken to be 1)
    Null deviance: 13.4602  on 9  degrees of freedom
Residual deviance:  8.1445  on 7  degrees of freedom
AIC: 14.144
Number of Fisher Scoring iterations: 5

Given some point, the predicted class is obtained using

> pred_1 <- function(x,y){
+ predict(reg,newdata=data.frame(x=x,
+ y=y),type="response")>.5
+ }

(here, the predicted class is simply the one that is the most likely). To visualize it use

> x_grid<-seq(0,1,length=101)
> y_grid<-seq(0,1,length=101)
> z_grid <- outer(x_grid,y_grid,pred_1)
> image(x_grid,y_grid,z_grid,col=clr2)
> points(x,y,pch=19,cex=2,col=clr1[z+1])

Since the logistic regression is a (generalized) linear model, the line that separate the two regions is a straight line.

Continue reading Supervised Classification, Logistic and Multinomial

Binomial regression model

Most of the time, when we introduce binomial models, such as the logistic or probit models, we discuss only Bernoulli variables, . This year (actually also the year before), I discuss extensions to multinomial regressionswhere  is a function on some simplex. The multinomial logistic model was mention here. The idea is to consider, for instance with three possible classes

the following model


Continue reading Binomial regression model

Predictive Modeling

Tomorrow, around noon, I will be giving a talk on predictive modeling for actuaries. In the introduction, I will get back shortly on the idea that a prediction is usually a best estimate, in the sense of getting an expected value. And because


it is natural to use least square ideas. In order to illustrate all those concepts, we will use a simple dataset, with the sex, the height and the weight of a person, as well as declared weight.


Since there is a typo in this dataset, we have to invert to figures


but it’s not a big deal. The variable of interest, here, is someone’s weight


(here in pounds). We will use explanatory variables such as the sex of that person, or his/her height

X=Davis$height / 30.48

(in inches). So, we will start with the (standard) linear model, just to make sure that we all talk about the same thing.

The goal will be to use (possible) explanatory variable to improve our prediction. We will start with the standard linear model, but we will see that nonlinear models can also easily be obtained,

Non linearities will be discussed. But those models are Gaussian (as mentioned above). And homoscedastic. So we will see how generalized linear models can be used to model the mean and the variance, at the same time. For instance, with a Poisson regression (below), the variance will increase with the expected value.

After this general introduction, we will spend some time on 0-1 variables. We will see how to use a logistic regression, and also discuss more generally which kind of models can be used for classification. ROC curves will be presented, and explained.

Then, we will also see an alternative to the logistic model, namely classification trees and CART techniques

We will also discuss random forrests, bagging and boosting techniques

pdf version of the slides can be downloaded.

SOA Webinar on Predictive Modeling

I will give, with Qichun Xu, a joint webinar for the Reinsurance Council and the Futurism Council of the Society of Actuaries, on Perspectives of Predictive Modeling with Case Studies in a few days. The slides of my talk are now available (I do recommand to open the pdf version of the slides with Acrobat, since there are animated pictures in the slides that could not be visualized below for instance). The Society of Actuaries asked specifically for a powerpoint document, so I will use screenshots of the slides for the webinar. I do encourage to open and read the pdf file for a better quality… Sorry for the inconvenience. I will upload soon lines of codes to reproduce most of the graphs. All comments and remarks are welcome.

More significant? so what…

Following my non-life insurance class, this morning, I had an interesting question from a student, that I will try to illustrate, and reformulate as accurately as possible. Consider a simple regression model, with one variable of interest, and one possible explanatory variable. Assume that we have two possible models, with the following output (yes, I do hide interesting parts here, but it is to get quickly to my student’s point)

            Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)    
(Intercept)  0.92883    0.06391  14.534   <2e-16 ***
X           -0.12499    0.06108  -2.046   0.0421 *  
Signif. codes:  0 '***' 0.001 '**' 0.01 '*' 0.05 '.' 0.1 ' ' 1

for the first model – a GLM with some distribution, and some link function – and

            Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)    
(Intercept)  0.92901    0.06270  14.817   <2e-16 ***
X           -0.09883    0.05816  -1.699   0.0909 .  
Signif. codes:  0 '***' 0.001 '**' 0.01 '*' 0.05 '.' 0.1 ' ' 1

for the second one – with another GLM, with another distribution, but the same link function (I guess I could have changed it, but it does not really matter here). Then, I got the following statement “I would like to choose the first model because the explanatory variable is more significant, and therefore, this model should have a stronger predictive power“.

That’s a nice idea, isn’t it ? Actually, I guess this is why I love teaching, because I will never be able to think about such an idea by myself. Because when you look at that statement, somehow it could make sense. Except that from my point of view, it is not valid at all. My first thought was to recall is standard example in statistical inference : you cannot not claim that a distribution is better than another one just by looking at the parameter estimates.

> fitdistr(Y,"normal")
      mean          sd    
  0.93685011   0.90700830 
 (0.06413517) (0.04535042)
> fitdistr(Y,"exponential")

Can I claim that the Gaussian distribution is better than the exponential one because parameter estimates have smaller standard deviation ? Because somehow, this is what we did when we claimed previously that the first model was better than the second one.

Let me get back on the outputs of the two regressions, and let me explain what I did. Actually, I wanted to have a story close to the one on the Gaussian versus exponential fit. So I did generate some exponential random variable,

> set.seed(5)
> n=200
> U=runif(n); 
> Y=-log(U)

Here, we can visualize the histogram of this sample, as well as the the estimated exponential distribution

> hist(Y,proba=TRUE,col="light green",border="white",lwd=2,breaks=seq(0,5.3333333333333,by=.333333333))
> x=seq(0,6,by=.02)
> lines(x,dexp(x,1/mean(Y)),col="red",lty=2)

On top of that, let us fit a gamma distribution. Using a GLM (where the regression is here on a constant – only), just to practice because later on, we will use a gamma regression on that variable

> reg0=glm(Y~1,family=Gamma(link="identity"))
> a=reg0$coefficient
> b=summary(reg0)$dispersion
> lines(x,dgamma(x,shape=1/b,scale=a*b),col="blue")

Now, we need a covariate, to run some regressions. What I wanted is some variable slightly correlated with our previous variable. Slightly, just to make sure that our -value in the regression will be close to 5% or 10%. So here, I did generate a variable so that the pair has Clayton copula, with coefficient 0.1 (which is small, extremely small)

> a=.1
> set.seed(5)
> n=200
> U=runif(n); 
> V=(U^(-a)*(runif(n)^(-a/(1+a))-1)+1)^(-1/a)
> Y=-log(U)
> X=qnorm(V)

To visualize the copula of the variables, we can use

> cop=function(u,v){
+ (a+1)*(u*v)^(-(a+1))*
+ (u^(-a)+v^(-a)-1)^(-(2*a+1)/a) }
> x=y=seq(.05,.95,by=.05)
> z=outer(x,y,cop)
> mat=persp(x,y,z,col="green",shade=TRUE,xlim=c(0,1),ylim=c(0,1),zlim=c(0,2),theta=-30,
+ ticktype ="detailed",zlab="")

We should be not far away from the independence (actually, there is a negative – significant – correlation (Pearson’s correlation)). Now, consider two models,

  • a Gaussian model (here a standard linear model)
  • a gamma model, with a linear link function

The outputs are the following (you will recognize the outputs given previously)

> reg1=lm(Y~X)
> reg2=glm(Y~X,family=Gamma(link="identity"))
> summary(reg1)

            Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)    
(Intercept)  0.92883    0.06391  14.534   <2e-16 ***
X           -0.12499    0.06108  -2.046   0.0421 *  
Signif. codes:  0 '***' 0.001 '**' 0.01 '*' 0.05 '.' 0.1 ' ' 1

Residual standard error: 0.9021 on 198 degrees of freedom
Multiple R-squared:  0.02071,	Adjusted R-squared:  0.01576 
F-statistic: 4.187 on 1 and 198 DF,  p-value: 0.04206

> summary(reg2)

            Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)    
(Intercept)  0.92901    0.06270  14.817   <2e-16 ***
X           -0.09883    0.05816  -1.699   0.0909 .  
Signif. codes:  0 '***' 0.001 '**' 0.01 '*' 0.05 '.' 0.1 ' ' 1

(Dispersion parameter for Gamma family taken to be 0.9086447)

    Null deviance: 229.72  on 199  degrees of freedom
Residual deviance: 226.58  on 198  degrees of freedom
AIC: 379.22

Number of Fisher Scoring iterations: 10

And here are the two predictions,

So, which model should we use? As usual, my answer will be “let’s have a look at the data” instead of looking only at tables of figures. Using some code posted a few days ago, let us visualize the two regressions. The Gaussian model is here

(for the lower part, I do not go below 0 since we do have, here, a positive variable that we would like to model) while the gamma on is here

And if we believe that the explanatory variable has no predictive power (since we can claim that the parameter is not significant in the regression), and we remove it from the regression, we get

Here, I do believe that the gamma (not to say the exponential) model is better because it is clearly more coherent with properties of the variable of interest. I trust more the confidence interval obtained above on the gamma model, than the one obtained with a Gaussian distribution. Even if the parameter in the regression is “more significant”.

GLM, non-linearity and heteroscedasticity

Last week in the non-life insurance course, we’ve seen the theory of the Generalized Linear Models, emphasizing the two important components

  • the link function (which is actually the key component in predictive modeling)
  • the distribution, or the variance function

Just to illustrate, consider my favorite dataset

­lin.mod = lm(dist~speed,data=cars)

A linear model means here

where the residuals are assumed to be centered, independent, and with identical variance. If we visualize that linear regression, we usually see something like that

The idea here (in GLMs) is to assume

which will produce the same model as the one describe previously, based on some error term. That model can be visualized below,

X= cars$speed 
mat=persp(vX,vY,matrix(0,n,n),zlim=c(0,.1),theta=-30,ticktype ="detailed", box = FALSE)
y1=qnorm(.95,predict(reggig,newdata=data.frame(X=x),type="response"), sdgig)
y2=qnorm(.05,predict(reggig,newdata=data.frame(X=x),type="response"), sdgig)
for(j in n:1){
y=seq(min(min(Y)-15,qnorm(.05,predict(reggig,newdata=data.frame(X=vX[j]),type="response"), sdgig)),max(Y)+15,length=stp)
z=dnorm(y, mgig[j], sdgig)
polygon(C,border=NA,col="light blue",density=40)

We do have two parts here: the linear increase of the average,  and the constant variance of the normal distribution .

On the other hand, if we assume a Poisson regression,

poisson.reg = glm(dist~speed,data=cars,family=poisson(link="log"))

we have something like

This time, two things have changed simultaneously: our model is no longer linear, it is an exponential one , and the variance is also increasing with the explanatory variable , since with a Poisson regression,

If we adapt the previous code, we get

The problem is that we changed two things when we introduced the Poisson regression from the linear model. So let us look at what happens when we change the two components independently. First, we can change the link function, with a Gaussian model but this time a multiplicative model (with a logarithm link function)

gaussian.reg = glm(dist~speed,data=cars,family=gaussian(link="log"))

which is still, here, an homoscedasctic model, but this time non-linear. Or we can change the link function in the Poisson regression, to get a linear model, but heteroscedastic

poisson.lin = glm(dist~speed,data=cars,family=poisson(link="identity"))

So this is basically what GLMs are about….