Tag Archives: mixture

Non-observable vs. observable heterogeneity factor

This morning, in the ACT2040 class (on non-life insurance), we’ve discussed the difference between observable and non-observable heterogeneity in ratemaking (from an economic perspective). To illustrate that point (we will spend more time, later on, discussing observable and non-observable risk factors), we looked at the following simple example. Let  denote the height of a person. Consider the following dataset

> Davis=read.table(
+ "http://socserv.socsci.mcmaster.ca/jfox/Books/Applied-Regression-2E/datasets/Davis.txt")

There is a small typo in the dataset, so let us make manual changes here

> Davis[12,c(2,3)]=Davis[12,c(3,2)] 

Here, the variable of interest is the height of a given person,

> X=Davis$height 

If we look at the histogram, we have

> hist(X,col="light green", border="white",proba=TRUE,xlab="",main="")

Can we assume that we have a Gaussian distribution ?

Maybe not… Here, if we fit a Gaussian distribution, plot it, and add a kernel based estimator, we get

> (param <- fitdistr(X,"normal")$estimate) 
> f1 <- function(x) dnorm(x,param[1],param[2]) 
> x=seq(100,210,by=.2) 
> lines(x,f1(x),lty=2,col="red") 
> lines(density(X))


If you look at that black line, you might think of a mixture, i.e. something like

(using standard mixture notations). Mixture are obtained when we have a non-observable heterogeneity factor: with probability , we have a random variable  (call it type [1]), and with probability , a random variable  (call it type [2]). So far, nothing new. And we can fit such a mixture distribution, using e.g.

> library(mixtools) 
> mix <- normalmixEM(X)
 number of iterations= 335 
> (param12 <- c(mix$lambda[1],mix$mu,mix$sigma)) 
[1] 0.4002202 178.4997298 165.2703616 6.3561363 5.9460023  

If we plot that mixture of two Gaussian distributions, we get

> f2 <- function(x){ param12[1]*dnorm(x,param12[2],param12[4])
+ (1-param12[1])*dnorm(x,param12[3],param12[5]) }
> lines(x,f2(x),lwd=2, col="red") lines(density(X))

Not bad. Actually, we can try to maximize the likelihood with our own codes,

> logdf <- function(x,parameter){
+ p <- parameter[1]
+ m1 <- parameter[2]
+ s1 <- parameter[4]
+ m2 <- parameter[3]
+ s2 <- parameter[5]
+ return(log(p*dnorm(x,m1,s1)+(1-p)*dnorm(x,m2,s2)))
+ }
> logL <- function(parameter) -sum(logdf(X,parameter))
> Amat <- matrix(c(1,-1,0,0,0,0,
+ 0,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,1), 4, 5)
> bvec <- c(0,-1,0,0)
> constrOptim(c(.5,160,180,10,10), logL, NULL, ui = Amat, ci = bvec)$par

[1]   0.5996263 165.2690084 178.4991624   5.9447675   6.3564746

Here, we include some constraints, to insurance that the probability belongs to the unit interval, and that the variance parameters remain positive. Note that we have something close to the previous output.

Let us try something a little bit more complex now. What if we assume that the underlying distributions have the same variance, namely

In that case, we have to use the previous code, and make small changes,

> logdf <- function(x,parameter){
+ p <- parameter[1]
+ m1 <- parameter[2]
+ s1 <- parameter[4]
+ m2 <- parameter[3]
+ s2 <- parameter[4]
+ return(log(p*dnorm(x,m1,s1)+(1-p)*dnorm(x,m2,s2)))
+ }
> logL <- function(parameter) -sum(logdf(X,parameter))
> Amat <- matrix(c(1,-1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,1), 3, 4)
> bvec <- c(0,-1,0)
> (param12c= constrOptim(c(.5,160,180,10), logL, NULL, ui = Amat, ci = bvec)$par)

[1]   0.6319105 165.6142824 179.0623954   6.1072614

This is what we can do if we cannot observe the heterogeneity factor. But wait… we actually have some information in the dataset. For instance, we have the sex of the person. Now, if we look at histograms of height per sex, and kernel based density estimator of the height, per sex, we have

So, it looks like the height for male, and the height for female are different. Maybe we can use that variable, that was actually observed, to explain the heterogeneity in our sample. Formally, here, the idea is to consider a mixture, with an observable heterogeneity factor: the sex,

We now have interpretation of what we used to call class [1] and [2] previously: male and female. And here, estimating parameters is quite simple,

>  (pM <- mean(sex=="M"))
[1] 0.44
>  (paramF <- fitdistr(X[sex=="F"],"normal")$estimate)
      mean         sd 
164.714286   5.633808 
>  (paramM <- fitdistr(X[sex=="M"],"normal")$estimate)
      mean         sd 
178.011364   6.404001

And if we plot the density, we have

> f4 <- function(x) pM*dnorm(x,paramM[1],paramM[2])+(1-pM)*dnorm(x,paramF[1],paramF[2])
> lines(x,f4(x),lwd=3,col="blue")

What if, once again, we assume identical variance? Namely, the model becomes

Then a natural idea to derive an estimator for the variance, based on previous computations, is to use

The code is here

> s=sqrt((sum((height[sex=="M"]-paramM[1])^2)+sum((height[sex=="F"]-paramF[1])^2))/(nrow(Davis)-2))
> s
[1] 6.015068

and again, it is possible to plot the associated density,

> f5 <- function(x) pM*dnorm(x,paramM[1],s)+(1-pM)*dnorm(x,paramF[1],s)
> lines(x,f5(x),lwd=3,col="blue")

Now, if we think a little about what we’ve just done, it is simply a linear regression on a factor, the sex of the person,

where .  And indeed, if we run the code to estimate this linear model,

> summary(lm(height~sex,data=Davis))

lm(formula = height ~ sex, data = Davis)

     Min       1Q   Median       3Q      Max 
-16.7143  -3.7143  -0.0114   4.2857  18.9886 

            Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)    
(Intercept) 164.7143     0.5684  289.80   <2e-16 ***
sexM         13.2971     0.8569   15.52   <2e-16 ***
Signif. codes:  0 '***' 0.001 '**' 0.01 '*' 0.05 '.' 0.1 ' ' 1

Residual standard error: 6.015 on 198 degrees of freedom
Multiple R-squared:  0.5488,	Adjusted R-squared:  0.5465 
F-statistic: 240.8 on 1 and 198 DF,  p-value: < 2.2e-16

we get the same estimators for the means and the variance as the ones obtained previously. So, as mentioned this morning in class, if you have a non-observable heterogeneity factor, we can use a mixture model to fit a distribution, but if you can get a proxy of that factor, that is observable, then you can run a regression. But most of the time, that observable variable is just a proxy of a non-observable one…

EM and mixture estimation

Following my previous post on optimization and mixtures (here), Nicolas told me that my idea was probably not the most clever one (there).
So, we get back to our simple mixture model,


In order to describe how EM algorithm works, assume first that both https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM02.png and  https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM03.pngare perfectly known, and the mixture parameter is the only one we care about.

  • The simple model, with only one parameter that is unknown

Here, the likelihood is


so that we write the log likelihood as


which might not be simple to maximize. Recall that the mixture model can interpreted through a latent variate https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM06.png (that cannot be observed), taking value when https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM07.png is drawn from https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM02.png, and 0 if it is drawn from https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM03.png. More generally (especially in the case we want to extend our model to 3, 4, … mixtures), https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM08.png and https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM09.png.
With that notation, the likelihood becomes


and the log likelihood


the term on the right is useless since we only care about p, here. From here, consider the following iterative procedure,
Assume that the mixture probability https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM13.png is known, denoted https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM12.png. Then I can predict the value of https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM06.png (i.e. https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM08.png and https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM09.png) for all observations,


So I can inject those values into my log likelihood, i.e. in


having maximum (no need to run numerical tools here)


that will be denoted https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM17.png. And I can iterate from here.
Formally, the first step is where we calculate an expected (E) value, where https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM18.pngis the best predictor of https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM19.png given my observations (as well as my belief in https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM13.png). Then comes a maximization (M) step, where using https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM06.png, I can estimate probability https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM13.png.

  • A more general framework, all parameters are now unkown

So far, it was simple, since we assumed that https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM02.png and  https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM03.png were perfectly known. Which is not reallistic. An there is not much to change to get a complete algorithm, to estimate https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM30.png. Recall that we had https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM18.png which was the expected value of Z_{1,i}, i.e. it is a probability that observation i has been drawn from https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM02.png.
If https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM18.png, instead of being in the segment https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM31.png was in https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM32.png, then we could have considered mean and standard deviations of observations such that https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM18.png=0, and similarly on the subset of observations such that https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM18.png=1.
But we can’t. So what can be done is to consider https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM18.png as the weight we should give to observation i when estimating parameters of https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM02.png, and similarly, 1-https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM18.pngwould be weights given to observation i when estimating parameters of https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM03.png.
So we set, as before


and then


and for the variance, well, it is a weighted mean again,


and this is it.

  • Let us run the code on the same data as before

Here, the code is rather simple: let us start generating a sample
> X1 = rnorm(n,0,1)
> X20 = rnorm(n,0,1)
> Z  = sample(c(1,2,2),size=n,replace=TRUE)
> X2=4+X20
> X = c(X1[Z==1],X2[Z==2])
then, given a vector of initial values (that I called https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM12.png and then https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM99.png before),
>  s = c(0.5, mean(X)-1, var(X), mean(X)+1, var(X))
I define my function as,
>  em = function(X0,s) {
+  Ep = s[1]*dnorm(X0, s[2], sqrt(s[4]))/(s[1]*dnorm(X0, s[2], sqrt(s[4])) +
+  (1-s[1])*dnorm(X0, s[3], sqrt(s[5])))
+  s[1] = mean(Ep)
+  s[2] = sum(Ep*X0) / sum(Ep)
+  s[3] = sum((1-Ep)*X0) / sum(1-Ep)
+  s[4] = sum(Ep*(X0-s[2])^2) / sum(Ep)
+  s[5] = sum((1-Ep)*(X0-s[3])^2) / sum(1-Ep)
+  return(s)
+  }
Then I get https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM12.png, or https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mixEM99.png. So this is it ! We just need to iterate (here I stop after 200 iterations) since we can see that, actually, our algorithm converges quite fast,
> for(i in 2:200){
+ s=em(X,s)
+ }

Let us run the same procedure as before, i.e. I generate samples of size 200, where difference between means can be small (0) or large (4),

Ok, Nicolas, you were right, we’re doing much better ! Maybe we should also go for a Gibbs sampling procedure ?… next time, maybe….

Optimization and mixture estimation

Recently, one of my students asked me about optimization routines in R. He told me he that R performed well on the estimation of a time series model with different regimes, while he had trouble with a (simple) GARCH process, and he was wondering if R was good in optimization routines. Actually, I always thought that mixtures (and regimes) was something difficult to estimate, so I was a bit surprised…

Indeed, it reminded me some trouble I experienced once, while I was talking about maximum likelihooh estimation, for non standard distribution, i.e. when optimization had to be done on the log likelihood function. And even when generating nice samples, giving appropriate initial values (actually the true value used in random generation), each time I tried to optimize my log likelihood, it failed. So I decided to play a little bit with standard optimization functions, to see which one performed better when trying to estimate mixture parameter (from a mixture based sample). Here, I generate a mixture of two gaussian distributions, and I would like to see how different the mean should be to have a high probability to estimate properly the parameters of the mixture.

The density is here https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mix-ml-01.png proportional to


The true model is https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mix-ml-03.png, and https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mix-ml-04.png being a parameter that will change, from 0 to 4.
The log likelihood (actually, I add a minus since most of the optimization functions actually minimize functions) is
> logvraineg <- function(param, obs) {
+ p <- param[1]
+ m1 <- param[2]
+ sd1 <- param[3]
+ m2 <- param[4]
+  sd2 <- param[5]
+  -sum(log(p * dnorm(x = obs, mean = m1, sd = sd1) + (1 – p) *
+ dnorm(x = obs, mean = m2, sd = sd2)))
+  }
The code to generate my samples is the following,
>X1 = rnorm(n,0,1)
> X20 = rnorm(n,0,1)
> Z  = sample(c(1,2,2),size=n,replace=TRUE)
> X2=m+X20
> X = c(X1[Z==1],X2[Z==2])
Then I use two functions to optimize my log likelihood, with identical intial values,
> O1=nlm(f = logvraineg, p = c(.5, mean(X)-sd(X)/5, sd(X), mean(X)+sd(X)/5, sd(X)), obs = X)
> logvrainegX <- function(param) {logvraineg(param,X)}
> O2=optim( par = c(.5, mean(X)-sd(X)/5, sd(X), mean(X)+sd(X)/5, sd(X)),
+   fn = logvrainegX)
Actually, since I might have identification problems, I take either https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mix-ml-05.png or https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mix-ml-06.png, depending whether https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mix-ml-07.png or https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mix-ml-08.png is the smallest parameter.

On the graph above, the x-axis is the difference between means of the mixture (as on the animated grap above). Then, the red point is the median of estimated parameter I have (here https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mix-ml-05.png), and I have included something that can be interpreted as a confidence interval, i.e. where I have been in 90% of my scenarios: theblack vertical segments. Obviously, when the sample is not enough heterogeneous (i.e. https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mix-ml-09.png and https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/arthur.charpentier/latex/mix-ml-04.png rather different), I cannot estimate properly my parameters, I might even have a probability that exceed 1 (I did not add any constraint). The blue plain horizontal line is the true value of the parameter, while the blue dotted horizontal line is the initial value of the parameter in the optimization algorithm (I started assuming that the mixture probability was around 0.2).
The graph below is based on the second optimization routine (with identical  starting values, and of course on the same generated samples),

(just to be honest, in many cases, it did not converge, so the loop stopped, and I had to run it again… so finally, my study is based on a bit less than 500 samples (times 15 since I considered several values for the mean of my second underlying distribution), with 200 generated observations from a mixture).
The graph below compares the two (empty circles are the first algorithm, while plain circles the second one),

On average, it is not so bad…. but the probability to be far away from the tru value is not small at all… except when the difference between the two means exceeds 3…
If I change starting values for the optimization algorithm (previously, I assumed that the mixture probability was 1/5, here I start from 1/2), we have the following graph

which look like the previous one, except for small differences between the two underlying distributions (just as if initial values had not impact on the optimization, but it might come from the fact that the surface is nice, and we are not trapped in regions of local minimum).
Thus, I am far from being an expert in optimization routines in R (see here for further information), but so far, it looks like R is not doing so bad… and the two algorithm perform similarly (maybe the first one being a bit closer to the trueparameter).