# Convex Regression Model

This morning during the lecture on nonlinear regression, I mentioned (very) briefly the case of convex regression. Since I forgot to mention the codes in R, I will publish them here. Assume that $y_i=m(\mathbf{x}_i)+\varepsilon_i$ where $m:\mathbb{R}^d\rightarrow \mathbb{R}$ is some convex function.

Then $m$ is convex if and only if $\forall\mathbf{x}_1,\mathbf{x}_2\in\mathbb{R}^d$, $\forall t\in[0,1]$, $$m(t\mathbf{x}_1+[1-t]\mathbf{x}_2) \leq tm(\mathbf{x}_1)+[1-t]m(\mathbf{x}_2)$$Hidreth (1954) proved that if$$m^\star=\underset{m \text{ convex}}{\text{argmin}}\left\lbrace\sum_{i=1}^n \big(y_i-m(\mathbf{x_i})\big)^2\right\rbrace$$then $\mathbf{\theta}^\star=(m^\star(\mathbf{x_1}),\cdots,m^\star(\mathbf{x_n}))$ is unique.

Let $\mathbf{y}=\mathbf{\theta}+\mathbf{\varepsilon}$, then $$\mathbf{\theta}^\star=\underset{\mathbf{\theta}\in \mathcal{K}}{\text{argmin}}\left\lbrace\sum_{i=1}^n \big(y_i-\theta_i)\big)^2\right\rbrace$$where$$\mathcal{K}=\{\mathbf{\theta}\in\mathbb{R}^n:\exists m\text{ convex },m(\mathbf{x}_i)=\theta_i\}$$. I.e. $\mathbf{\theta}^\star$ is the projection of $\mathbf{y}$ onto the (closed) convex cone $\mathcal{K}$. The projection theorem gives existence and unicity.

For convenience, in the application, we will consider the real-valued case, $m:\mathbb{R}\rightarrow \mathbb{R}$, i.e. $y_i=m(x_i)+\varepsilon_i$. Assume that observations are ordered $x_1\leq x_2\leq\cdots \leq x_n$. Here $$\mathcal{K}=\left\lbrace\mathbf{\theta}\in\mathbb{R}^n:\frac{\theta_2-\theta_1}{x_2-x_1}\leq \frac{\theta_3-\theta_2}{x_3-x_2}\leq \cdots \leq \frac{\theta_n-\theta_{n-1}}{x_n-x_{n-1}}\right\rbrace$$

Hence, quadratic program with $n-2$ linear constraints.

$m^\star$ is a piecewise linear function (interpolation of consecutive pairs $(x_i,\theta_i^\star)$).

If $m$ is differentiable, $m$ is convex if $$m(\mathbf{x})+ \nabla m(\mathbf{x})^{\text{T}}\cdot[\mathbf{y}-\mathbf{x}] \leq m(\mathbf{y})$$

More generally, if $m$ is convex, then there exists $\xi_{\mathbf{x}}\in\mathbb{R}^n$ such that $$m(\mathbf{x})+ \xi_{\mathbf{x}}^{\text{ T}}\cdot[\mathbf{y}-\mathbf{x}] \leq m(\mathbf{y})$$
$\xi_{\mathbf{x}}$ is a subgradient of $m$ at ${\mathbf{x}}$. And then $$\partial m(\mathbf{x})=\big\lbrace m(\mathbf{x})+ \xi^{\text{ T}}\cdot[\mathbf{y}-\mathbf{x}] \leq m(\mathbf{y}),\forall \mathbf{y}\in\mathbb{R}^n\big\rbrace$$

Hence, $\mathbf{\theta}^\star$ is solution of $$\text{argmin}\big\lbrace\|\mathbf{y}-\mathbf{\theta}\|^2\big\rbrace$$$$\text{subject to }\theta_i+\xi_i^{\text{ T}}[\mathbf{x}_j-\mathbf{x}_i]\leq\mathbf{\theta}_j,~\forall i,j$$ and $\xi_1,\cdots,\xi_n\in\mathbb{R}^n$. Now, to do it for real, use cobs package for constrained (b)splines regression,

library(cobs)

To get a convex regression, use

plot(cars) x = cars$speed y = cars$dist rc = conreg(x,y,convex=TRUE) lines(rc, col = 2)

Here we can get the values of the knots

rc   Call: conreg(x = x, y = y, convex = TRUE) Convex regression: From 19 separated x-values, using 5 inner knots, 7, 8, 9, 20, 23. RSS = 1356; R^2 = 0.8766; needed (5,0) iterations

and actually, if we use them in a linear-spline regression, we get the same output here

reg = lm(dist~bs(speed,degree=1,knots=c(4,7,8,9,,20,23,25)),data=cars) u = seq(4,25,by=.1) v = predict(reg,newdata=data.frame(speed=u)) lines(u,v,col="green")

Let us add vertical lines for the knots

abline(v=c(4,7,8,9,20,23,25),col="grey",lty=2)

# Parallelizing Linear Regression or Using Multiple Sources

My previous post was explaining how mathematically it was possible to parallelize computation to estimate the parameters of a linear regression. More speficially, we have a matrix $\mathbf{X}$ which is $n\times k$ matrix and $\mathbf{y}$ a $n$-dimensional vector, and we want to compute $\widehat{\mathbf{\beta}}=[\mathbf{X}^T\mathbf{X}]^{-1}\mathbf{X}^T\mathbf{y}$ by spliting the job. Instead of using the $n$ observations, we’ve seen that it was to possible to compute “something” using the first $n_1$ rows, then the next $n_2$ rows, etc. Then, finally, we “aggregate” the $m$ objects created to get our overall estimate.

## Parallelizing on multiple cores

Let us see how it works from a computational point of view, to run each computation on a different core of the machine. Each core will see a slave, computing what we’ve seen in the previous post. Here, the data we use are

y = cars$dist X = data.frame(1,cars$speed) k = ncol(X)

On my laptop, I have three cores, so we will split it in $m=3$ chunks

library(parallel) library(pbapply) ncl = detectCores()-1 cl = makeCluster(ncl)

This is more or less what we will do: we have our dataset, and we split the jobs,

We can then create lists containing elements that will be sent to each core, as Ewen suggested,

chunk = function(x,n) split(x, cut(seq_along(x), n, labels = FALSE)) a_parcourir = chunk(seq_len(nrow(X)), ncl) for(i in 1:length(a_parcourir)) a_parcourir[[i]] = rep(i, length(a_parcourir[[i]])) Xlist = split(X, unlist(a_parcourir)) ylist = split(y, unlist(a_parcourir))

It is also possible to simplify the QR functions we will use

compute_qr = function(x){ list(Q=qr.Q(qr(as.matrix(x))),R=qr.R(qr(as.matrix(x)))) } get_Vlist = function(j){ Q3 = QR1[[j]]$Q %*% Q2list[[j]] t(Q3) %*% ylist[[j]] } clusterExport(cl, c("compute_qr", "get_Vlist"), envir=environment()) Then, we can run our functions on each core. The first one is  QR1 = parLapply(cl=cl,Xlist, compute_qr) note that it is also possible to use  QR1 = pblapply(Xlist, compute_qr, cl=cl) which will include a progress bar (that can be nice when the database is rather large). Then use  R1 = pblapply(QR1, function(x) x$R, cl=cl) %&gt;% do.call("rbind", .) Q1 = qr.Q(qr(as.matrix(R1))) R2 = qr.R(qr(as.matrix(R1))) Q2list = split.data.frame(Q1, rep(1:ncl, each=k)) clusterExport(cl, c("QR1", "Q2list", "ylist"), envir=environment()) Vlist = pblapply(1:length(QR1), get_Vlist, cl=cl) sumV = Reduce('+', Vlist)

and finally the ouput is

solve(R2) %*% sumV [,1] X1 -17.579095 X2 3.932409

which is what we were expecting…

## Using multiple sources

In practice, it might also happen that various “servers” have the data, but we cannot get a copy. But it is possible to run some functions on their server, and get some output, that we can use afterwards.

Datasets are supposed to be available somewhere. We can send a request, and get a matrix. Then we we aggregate all of them, and send another request. That’s what we will do here. Provider $j$ should run $f_1(\mathbf{X})$ on his part of the data, that function will return $R^{(1)}_j$. More precisely, to the first provider, send

function1 = function(subX){ return(qr.R(qr(as.matrix(subX))))} R1 = function1(Xlist[[1]])

and actually, send that function to all providers, and aggregate the output

for(j in 2:m) R1 = rbind(R1,function1(Xlist[[j]]))

The create on your side the following objects

Q1 = qr.Q(qr(as.matrix(R1))) R2 = qr.R(qr(as.matrix(R1))) Q2list=list() for(j in 1:m) Q2list[[j]] = Q1[(j-1)*k+1:k,]

Finally, contact one last time the providers, and send one of your objects

function2=function(subX,suby,Q){ Q1=qr.Q(qr(as.matrix(subX))) Q2=Q return(t(Q1%*%Q2) %*% suby)}

Provider $j$ should then run $f_2(\mathbf{X},\mathbf{y},Q_j^{(2)})$ on his part of the data, using also $Q_j^{(2)}$ as argument (that we obtained on own side) and that function will return $(\mathbf{Q}^{(2)}_j\mathbf{Q}^{(1)}_j)^{T}_j\mathbf{y}_j$. For instance, ask the first provider to run

sumV = function2(Xlist[[1]],ylist[[1]], Q2list[[1]])

and do the same with all providers

for(j in 2:m) sumV = sumV+ function2(Xlist[[j]],ylist[[j]], Q2list[[j]])
solve(R2) %*% sumV [,1] X1 -17.579095 X2 3.932409

which is what we were expecting…

# Linear Regression, with Map-Reduce

Sometimes, with big data, matrices are too big to handle, and it is possible to use tricks to numerically still do the map. Map-Reduce is one of those. With several cores, it is possible to split the problem, to map on each machine, and then to agregate it back at the end.

Consider the case of the linear regression, $\mathbf{y}=\mathbf{X}\mathbf{\beta}+\mathbf{\varepsilon}$ (with classical matrix notations). The OLS estimate of $\mathbf{\beta}$ is $\widehat{\mathbf{\beta}}=[\mathbf{X}^T\mathbf{X}]^{-1}\mathbf{X}^T\mathbf{y}$. To illustrate, consider a not too big dataset, and run some regression.

lm(dist~speed,data=cars)$coefficients (Intercept) speed -17.579095 3.932409 y=cars$dist X=cbind(1,cars$speed) solve(crossprod(X,X))%*%crossprod(X,y) [,1] [1,] -17.579095 [2,] 3.932409 How is this computed in R? Actually, it is based on the QR decomposition of $\mathbf{X}$, $\mathbf{X}=\mathbf{Q}\mathbf{R}$, where $\mathbf{Q}$ is an orthogonal matrix (ie $\mathbf{Q}^T\mathbf{Q}=\mathbb{I}$). Then $\widehat{\mathbf{\beta}}=[\mathbf{X}^T\mathbf{X}]^{-1}\mathbf{X}^T\mathbf{y}=\mathbf{R}^{-1}\mathbf{Q}^T\mathbf{y}$ solve(qr.R(qr(as.matrix(X)))) %*% t(qr.Q(qr(as.matrix(X)))) %*% y [,1] [1,] -17.579095 [2,] 3.932409 So far, so good, we get the same output. Now, what if we want to parallelise computations. Actually, it is possible. Consider $m$ blocks m = 5 and split vectors and matrices $$\mathbf{y}=\left[\begin{matrix}\mathbf{y}_1\\\mathbf{y}_2\\\vdots \\\mathbf{y}_m\end{matrix}\right]$$ and $$\mathbf{X}=\left[\begin{matrix}\mathbf{X}_1\\\mathbf{X}_2\\\vdots\\\mathbf{X}_m\end{matrix}\right]=\left[\begin{matrix}\mathbf{Q}_1^{(1)}\mathbf{R}_1^{(1)}\\\mathbf{Q}_2^{(1)}\mathbf{R}_2^{(1)}\\\vdots \\\mathbf{Q}_m^{(1)}\mathbf{R}_m^{(1)}\end{matrix}\right]$$ To split vectors and matrices, use (eg) Xlist = list() for(j in 1:m) Xlist[[j]] = X[(j-1)*10+1:10,] ylist = list() for(j in 1:m) ylist[[j]] = y[(j-1)*10+1:10] and get small QR recomposition (per subset) QR1 = list() for(j in 1:m) QR1[[j]] = list(Q=qr.Q(qr(as.matrix(Xlist[[j]]))),R=qr.R(qr(as.matrix(Xlist[[j]])))) Consider the QR decomposition of $\mathbf{R}^{(1)}$ which is the first step of the reduce part$$\mathbf{R}^{(1)}=\left[\begin{matrix}\mathbf{R}_1^{(1)}\\\mathbf{R}_2^{(1)}\\\vdots \\\mathbf{R}_m^{(1)}\end{matrix}\right]=\mathbf{Q}^{(2)}\mathbf{R}^{(2)}$$where$$\mathbf{Q}^{(2)}=\left[\begin{matrix}\mathbf{Q}^{(2)}_1\\\mathbf{Q}^{(2)}_2\\\vdots\\\mathbf{Q}^{(2)}_m\end{matrix}\right]$$ R1 = QR1[[1]]$R for(j in 2:m) R1 = rbind(R1,QR1[[j]]$R) Q1 = qr.Q(qr(as.matrix(R1))) R2 = qr.R(qr(as.matrix(R1))) Q2list=list() for(j in 1:m) Q2list[[j]] = Q1[(j-1)*2+1:2,] Define – as step 2 of the reduce part$$\mathbf{Q}^{(3)}_j=\mathbf{Q}^{(2)}_j\mathbf{Q}^{(1)}_j$$ and$$\mathbf{V}_j=\mathbf{Q}^{(3)T}_j\mathbf{y}_j$$ Q3list = list() for(j in 1:m) Q3list[[j]] = QR1[[j]]$Q %*% Q2list[[j]] Vlist = list() for(j in 1:m) Vlist[[j]] = t(Q3list[[j]]) %*% ylist[[j]]

and finally set – as the step 3 of the reduce part$$\widehat{\mathbf{\beta}}=[\mathbf{R}^{(2)}]^{-1}\sum_{j=1}^m\mathbf{V}_j$$

sumV = Vlist[[1]] for(j in 2:m) sumV = sumV+Vlist[[j]] solve(R2) %*% sumV [,1] [1,] -17.579095 [2,] 3.932409

It looks like we’ve been able to parallelise our linear regression…

After my series of post on classification algorithms, it’s time to get back to R codes, this time for quantile regression. Yes, I still want to get a better understanding of optimization routines, in R. Before looking at the quantile regression, let us compute the median, or the quantile, from a sample.

## Median

Consider a sample $\{y_1,\cdots,y_n\}$. To compute the median, solve$$\min_\mu \left\lbrace\sum_{i=1}^n|y_i-\mu|\right\rbrace$$which can be solved using linear programming techniques. More precisely, this problem is equivalent to$$\min_{\mu,\mathbf{a},\mathbf{b}}\left\lbrace\sum_{i=1}^na_i+b_i\right\rbrace$$with $a_i,b_i\geq 0$ and $y_i-\mu=a_i-b_i$, $\forall i=1,\cdots,n$.
To illustrate, consider a sample from a lognormal distribution,

n = 101 set.seed(1) y = rlnorm(n) median(y) [1] 1.077415

For the optimization problem, use the matrix form, with $3n$ constraints, and $2n+1$ parameters,

So far so good…

## Quantile Regression (simple)

Consider the following dataset, with rents of flat, in a major German city, as function of the surface, the year of construction, etc.

base=read.table("http://freakonometrics.free.fr/rent98_00.txt",header=TRUE)

The linear program for the quantile regression is now$$\min_{\mu,\mathbf{a},\mathbf{b}}\left\lbrace\sum_{i=1}^n\tau a_i+(1-\tau)b_i\right\rbrace$$with $a_i,b_i\geq 0$ and $$y_i-[\beta_0^\tau+\beta_1^\tau x_i]=a_i-b_i$$$\forall i=1,\cdots,n$. So use here

require(lpSolve) tau = .3 n=nrow(base) X = cbind( 1, base$area) y = base$rent_euro A1 = cbind(diag(2*n), 0,0) A2 = cbind(diag(n), -diag(n), X) r = lp("min", c(rep(tau,n), rep(1-tau,n),0,0), rbind(A1, A2), c(rep("&gt;=", 2*n), rep("=", n)), c(rep(0,2*n), y)) tail(r$solution,2) [1] 148.946864 3.289674 Of course, we can use R function to fit that model library(quantreg) rq(rent_euro~area, tau=tau, data=base) Coefficients: (Intercept) area 148.946864 3.289674 Here again, it seems to work quite well. We can use a different probability level, of course, and get a plot plot(base$area,base$rent_euro,xlab=expression(paste("surface (",m^2,")")), ylab="rent (euros/month)",col=rgb(0,0,1,.4),cex=.5) sf=0:250 yr=r$solution[2*n+1]+r$solution[2*n+2]*sf lines(sf,yr,lwd=2,col="blue") tau = .9 r = lp("min", c(rep(tau,n), rep(1-tau,n),0,0), rbind(A1, A2), c(rep("&gt;=", 2*n), rep("=", n)), c(rep(0,2*n), y)) tail(r$solution,2) [1] 121.815505 7.865536 yr=r$solution[2*n+1]+r$solution[2*n+2]*sf lines(sf,yr,lwd=2,col="blue")

## Quantile Regression (multiple)

Now that we understand how to run the optimization program with one covariate, why not try with two ? For instance, let us see if we can explain the rent of a flat as a (linear) function of the surface and the age of the building.

require(lpSolve) tau = .3 n=nrow(base) X = cbind( 1, base$area, base$yearc ) y = base$rent_euro A1 = cbind(diag(2*n), 0,0,0) A2 = cbind(diag(n), -diag(n), X) r = lp("min", c(rep(tau,n), rep(1-tau,n),0,0,0), rbind(A1, A2), c(rep("&gt;=", 2*n), rep("=", n)), c(rep(0,2*n), y)) tail(r$solution,3) [1] 0.000000 3.257562 0.077501

Unfortunately, this time, it is not working well…

library(quantreg) rq(rent_euro~area+yearc, tau=tau, data=base) Coefficients: (Intercept) area yearc -5542.503252 3.978135 2.887234

Results are quite different. And actually, another technique can confirm the later (IRLS – Iteratively Reweighted Least Squares)

eps = residuals(lm(rent_euro~area+yearc, data=base)) for(s in 1:500){ reg = lm(rent_euro~area+yearc, data=base, weights=(tau*(eps&gt;0)+(1-tau)*(eps&lt;0))/abs(eps)) eps = residuals(reg) } reg$coefficients (Intercept) area yearc -5484.443043 3.955134 2.857943 I could not figure out what went wrong with the linear program. Not only coefficients are very different, but also predictions… yr = r$solution[2*n+1]+r$solution[2*n+2]*base$area+r$solution[2*n+3]*base$yearc plot(predict(reg),yr) abline(a=0,b=1,lty=2,col="red")

It’s now time to investigate….

# Classification from scratch, overview 0/8

Before my course on « big data and economics » at the university of Barcelona in July, I wanted to upload a series of posts on classification techniques, to get an insight on machine learning tools.

According to some common idea, machine learning algorithms are black boxes. I wanted to get back on that saying. First of all, isn’t it the case also for regression models, like generalized additive models (with splines) ? Do you really know what the algorithm is doing ? Even the logistic regression. In textbooks, we can easily find math formulas. But what is really done when I run it, in R ?

When I started working on academia, someone told me something like « if you really want to understand a theory, teach it ». And that has been my moto for more than 15 years. I wanted to add a second part to that statement: « if you really want to understand an algorithm, recode it ». So let’s try this… My ambition is to recode (more or less) most of the standard algorithms used in predictive modeling, from scratch, in R. What I plan to mention, within the next two weeks, will be

I will use two datasets to illustrate. The first one is inspired by the cover of « Foundations of Machine Learning » by Mehryar Mohri, Afshin Rostamizadeh and Ameet Talwalkar. At least, with this dataset, it will be possible to plot predictions (since there are only two – continuous – features)

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(x1=x,x2=y,y=as.factor(z)) plot(x,y,pch=c(1,19)[1+z])

Here is some code to get a visualization of the prediction (here the probability to be a black point)

rmatrix_model = function(model){ u = seq(0,1,length=101) p = function(x,y) predict(model,newdata=data.frame(x1=x,x2=y),type="response") v = outer(u,u,p) return(v)} nice_graph=function(v){ u = seq(0,1,length=101) image(u,u,v,xlab="Variable 1",ylab="Variable 2",col=clr10[c(1,10)],breaks=c(0,5,10)/10) points(x,y,pch=19,cex=1.5,col="white") points(x,y,pch=c(1,19)[1+z],cex=1.5) contour(u,u,v,levels = .5,add=TRUE) } reg = glm(y~x1+x2,data=df,family=binomial) nice_graph(rmatrix_model(reg))

Note that colors are defined here as

clr10= c("#ffffff","#f7fcfd","#e5f5f9","#ccece6","#99d8c9","#66c2a4","#41ae76","#238b45","#006d2c","#00441b")

or with some nonlinear model

The second one is a dataset I got from Gilbert Saporta, about heart attacks and decease (our binary variable).

myocarde = read.table("http://freakonometrics.free.fr/myocarde.csv",head=TRUE, sep=";") myocarde$PRONO = (myocarde$PRONO=="SURVIE")*1 y = myocarde$PRONO X = as.matrix(cbind(1,myocarde[,1:7])) So far, I do not plan to talk (too much) on the choice of tunning parameters (and cross-validation), on comparing models, etc. The goal here is simply to understand what’s going on when we call either glm, glmnet, gam, random forest, svm, xgboost, or any function to get a predict model. # On the interpretation of a regression model Yesterday, (aka @NaytaData ) posted a nice graph on reddit, with bicycle traffic and mean air temperature, in Helsinki, Finland, per day, I found that graph interesting, so I did ask for the data ( kindly sent them to me tonight). df=read.csv("cyclistsTempHKI.csv") library(ggplot2) ggplot(df, aes(meanTemp, cyclists)) + geom_point() + geom_smooth(span = 0.3) But as mentioned by someone on twitter, the interpretation is somehow trivial : people get out on their bike when the weather is nice. The hotter, the more cyclists on the road. Which is interpreted here in a causal way… But actually, we can also visualize the data as follows, as suggested by Antoine Chambert-Loir  ggplot(df, aes(cyclists, meanTemp)) + geom_point() + geom_smooth(span = 0.3) The interpretation would be, somehow, that the more cyclists on the road, the hotter it is. Why not consider this causal interpretation here ? Like cyclists go so fast, or sweat so much, that they increase temperature… Of course, it is the standard (recurrent) discussion “correlation is not causality”, but in regression models, we like to tell a story, to pretend that we have some sort of a causal story. But we do not prove it. Here, we know that the first one is more credible than the second one, but how do we know that ? To go further, how can we use machine learning techniques to prove causal relationships ? How could a machine choose between the first and the second story ? # Visualizing effects of a categorical explanatory variable in a regression Recently, I’ve been working on two problems that might be related to semiotic issues in predictive modeling (i.e. instead of a standard regression table, how can we plot coefficient values in a regression model). To be more specific, I have a variable of interest $Y$ that is observed for several individuals $i$, with explanatory variables $\mathbf{x}_i$, year $t$, in a specific region $z_i\in\{A,B,C,D,E\}$. Suppose that we have a simple (standard) linear model (forget about time here) $$y_i=\beta_0+\beta_1x_{1,i}+\cdots+\beta_kx_{k,i}+\sum_j \alpha_j \mathbf{1}(z_i\in j)+\varepsilon_i$$ Let us forget the temporal effect to focus on the spatial effect today. And consider some simulated dataset. There will be only one (continuous) explanatory variable. And I will generate correlated covariates, just to be more realistic. n=1000 library(mnormt) r=.5 Sigma=matrix(c(1,r,r,1), 2, 2) set.seed(1) X=rmnorm(n,c(0,0),Sigma) X1=cut(X[,1],c(-100,quantile(X[,1],c(.1,.4,.7,.85)), 100),labels=LETTERS[1:5]) X2=X[,2] Y=5+X[,1]-X[,2]+rnorm(n)/2 db=data.frame(Y,X1,X2) Here we have $$y_i=\beta_0+\beta_1x_{1,i}+\sum_{j\in\{A,B,C,D,E\}} \alpha_j \mathbf{1}(z_i\in j)+\varepsilon_i$$ The goal here is to get to graph to visualize the vector $\hat\alpha=(\hat\alpha_A,\cdots,\hat\alpha_E)$. Let us run the linear regression reg1=lm(Y~X1+X2,data=db) idx=which(substr(names(reg1$coefficients), 1,2)=="X1") v1=reg1$coefficients[idx] names(v1)=LETTERS[2:5] barplot(v1,col=rgb(0,0,1,.4)) Note that it is possible to add some sort of “confidence interval” to discuss significance (or to avoid to spend hours discussing differences in bar heights that are not significantly different) library(Hmisc) sv1=summary(reg1)$coefficients[idx,2] (bp1=barplot(v1,ylim=range(c(0,v1+2*sv1)))) errbar(bp1[,1],v1,v1-2*sv1,v1+2*sv1,add=TRUE)

My main concern here is the “reference” that is considered. Should $A$ be the reference? Why not $B$

db$X1=relevel(db$X1,"B") reg1=lm(Y~X1+X2,data=db) idx=which(substr(names(reg1$coefficients),1,2)=="X1") v1=reg1$coefficients[idx] names(v1)=LETTERS[c(1,3:5)] library(Hmisc) sv1=summary(reg1)$coefficients[idx,2] (bp1=barplot(v1) errbar(bp1[,1],v1,v1-2*sv1,v1+2*sv1,add=TRUE) Why not the smallest one? Why not the largest one?… What if there is no simple way to choose. Furthermore, let us get back to the original point, which is that there might be some temporal aspects. More precisely, we can have $\hat\alpha^{(t)}=(\hat\alpha_A^{(t)},\cdots,\hat\alpha_E^{(t)})$. If we have also $\hat\alpha^{(t+1)}$ and we get another plot, how do we interpret it. If for $E$ the bar is taller, it means that relative to $A$, the difference has increased. I have the feeling that the interpretation is more complicated because we do not see, on that graph, changes in $\hat\alpha^{(t)}_A$. Let us try something else. First, let us get back to the original setting db$X1=relevel(db$X1,"A") Consider here the regression without the intercept, so that all values remain reg1=lm(Y~0+X1+X2,data=db) idx=which(substr(names(reg1$coefficients),1,2)=="X1") v1=reg2$coefficients[idx] names(v1)=LETTERS[1:5] barplot(v1) It can be hard to read, especially if $Y$ takes (very) large values, and you think that barplots should start at 0. But still, having those 5 values is nice. Why not rescale that graph? A natural idea my be to consider the case where no spatial component is considered, and to look at the difference with that reference. reg1=lm(Y~1+X2,data=db) reg2=lm(Y~0+X1+X2,data=db) idx=which(substr(names(reg2$coefficients),1,2)=="X1") v1=reg2$coefficients[idx] v2=v1-reg1$coefficients["(Intercept)"] barplot(v2,col=rgb(0,0,1,.4)) sv2=summary(reg2)$coefficients[idx,2] (bp2=barplot(v2,ylim=range(c(v2-2*sv2,v2+2*sv2)))) errbar(bp2[,1],v2,v2-2*sv2,v2+2*sv2,add=TRUE) I like that graph, I should admit it. Now, I still have some remaining questions. For instance, can we insure that when only the intercept is considered, the value of $\hat\beta_0$ is somewhere between $\hat\beta_A,\cdots,\hat\beta_E$? Is it possible that $\hat\beta_A-\hat\beta_0,\cdots,\hat\beta_E-\hat\beta_0$ are all positive? In that case, I would find that hard to interpret. Actually, if I really want values that can be seen as compared to some average, why not consider a (weighted) average of $\hat\beta_A,\cdots,\hat\beta_E$? (weights being here proportion in each class, in each region) w=table(db$X1) v3=v1-sum(w*v1)/sum(w) (bp3=barplot(v3,ylim=range(c(v3-2*sv3,v3+2*sv3)))) errbar(bp3[,1],v3,v3-2*sv3,v3+2*sv3,add=TRUE)

I like that one. But what if, instead of normalizing at the end, we normalize the original dependent variable. By “normalize”, I mean “rescale”, to have a centered variable.

db$Y0=db$Y-mean(db$Y) reg3=lm(Y0~0+X1+X2,data=db) sv3=summary(reg3)$coefficients[idx,2] (bp3=barplot(v3,ylim=range(c(v3-2*sv3,v3+2*sv3)))) errbar(bp3[,1],v3,v3-2*sv3,v3+2*sv3,add=TRUE)

This one is nice, because it is extremely simple to explain. But what if instead of a linear regression, we add a logistic one (with $Y\in\{0,1\}$)? or a Poisson regression…

So maybe it cannot be the best solution here. Let us try something else… In insurance ratemaking, people like to use “zonier“. It is a two-stage regression. The idea is to run a regression without any spatial components, first. Then, consider the regression of residuals on spatial variables. Here, it would be something like

reg1=lm(Y~1+X2,data=db) reg2=lm(Y~0+X1+X2,data=db)

Since we focus on residuals, those are centered, and we have an easy interpretation of respective values

sv4=summary(reg4)$coefficients[idx,2] v4=reg4$coefficients (bp4=barplot(v4,names.arg=LETTERS[1:5]))) errbar(bp4[,1],v4,v4-2*sv4,v4+2*sv4,add=TRUE)

I guess that it can also be use in generalized linear models, with Pearson (or deviance) residuals.

Another possible idea can be the following. Again, the goal is not to have the true values, but to visualize on a graph how regions can be different. Here, all of them are significantly different. And in region $A$, $Y$ is smaller, ceteris paribus (other things equal in the sense that we have taken into account $x_1$). And in region $E$ it is larger. Here, the graph helps to “see” those differences.

Why not consider a completely different graph. What if we plot vector $a$ instead of $\alpha$, where $a_A$ can be interpreted as the value of the coefficient if we consider region $A$ against “not region $A$“. What if we consider 5 regressions where dichotomous versions of $Z$ are considered : $Z_j=\mathbf{1}_{Z=j}$.

v5=sv5=rep(NA,5) names(v5)=LETTERS[1:5] for(k in 1:5){ reg=lm(Y~I(X1==LETTERS[k])+X2,data=db) v5[k]=reg$coefficients[2] sv5[k]=summary(reg)$coefficients[2,2]}

We can plot that sequence of values, including some confidence intervals (that would be related to significance with respect to all other regions)

(bp5=barplot(v5,ylim=range(c(v5-2*sv5,v5+2*sv5)))) errbar(bp5[,1],v5,v5-2*sv5,v5+2*sv5,add=TRUE)

Looking at values does not give intuitive results, but I have the feeling that it is easy to explain what we plot (we compare each region to “the rest of the world”), and the ordering of $a$ seems to be consistent with $\alpha$ (but I could not prove it).

Here are some ideas I got. I should be able to provide other graphs, but I would love to discuss with anyone on that topics, to find a proper and nice way to visualize effects of a categorical explanatory variable in a regression model (that can be a logistic one). Comments are open…

# The myth of interpretability of econometric models

There are important discussions nowadays about data modeling, to choose between the “two cultures” (as mentioned in Breiman (2001)), i.e. either econometrics models or machine/statistical learning models. We did discuss this issue recently in Econométrie et Machine Learning (so far only in French) with Emmanuel Flachaire and Antoine Ly. One argument often used by econometricians is the interpretability of econometric models. Or at least the attempt to get an interpretable model.

We also have this discussion in actuarial science, for instance in ratemaking (or insurance pricing). Machine learning based models usually perform better (for some a priori chosen metric), but actuaries claim that econometric models are more easily interpretable. In actuarial literature, we assume that claim frequency $Y$ is driven by some non-observable risk factor $\Theta$, and therefore, we do have heterogeneous risks in our portfolio. And, it can be seen as legitimate to differentiate prices. Assume that this risk factor $\Theta$ is strongly correlated with $X_1$, the age of the driver. Because in our portfolio, old drivers tend to have more accidents. Here, we could pretend to have a “causal story” (as defined in Freedman (2009)) because of a possible interpretation of the model. So it is natural here to consider a regression model of $Y$ on $X_1$ to derive our actuarial pricing model. But assume that, possibly, risk factor $\Theta$ is also strongly correlated with $X_2$, that can be related to spatial features (say latitude, which denoted a north/south position). Because in our portfolio, drivers living in the south tend to have more accidents (reads are known to be more dangerous there). Here, we could pretend to have a second “causal story”.

Of course, since $\Theta$ is strongly correlated with $X_1$ and $X_2$, it means that $X_1$ and $X_2$ are strongly correlated. Here also, this correlation can be interpreted (not in a causal way as previously, but still), since we know that old people like to live in southern regions. So, what should we do here ? Let us run some simulations to  illustrate.

 set.seed(123) n=1e5 Theta=rnorm(n) X1=Theta+rnorm(n)/8 X2=Theta+rnorm(n)/8 L=exp(-3+Theta) Y=rpois(n,L) B=data.frame(Y,X1,X2)

Our first idea was to consider a model where $Y$ is “explained” by the first variable $X_1$,

 g1=glm(Y~X1,data=B,family=poisson) summary(g1)   Coefficients: Estimate Std. Error z value Pr(&gt;|z|) (Inter.) -2.97778 0.01544 -192.88 &lt;2e-16 *** X1 0.97926 0.01092 89.64 &lt;2e-16 ***

As expected, our variable is “significant”, but also, probably more interesting, $X_2$, has no impact on the residuals

 B$e1=residuals(g1,type="pearson") g1e=lm(e1~X2,data=B) summary(g1e) Coefficients: Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(&gt;|t|) (Inter.) 0.0003618 0.0031696 0.114 0.909 X2 0.0028601 0.0031467 0.909 0.363 The interpretation is that once we corrected claim frequency for the age of the drivers, there is no spatial effect here. So, a good model should be based only on the age of the drivers. But we can also consider the other story. We can consider a model where $Y$ is “explained” by the second variable $X_2$,  g2=glm(Y~X2,data=B,family=poisson) summary(g2) Coefficients: Estimate Std. Error z value Pr(&gt;|z|) (Inter.) -2.97724 0.01544 -192.81 &lt;2e-16 *** X2 0.97915 0.01093 89.56 &lt;2e-16 *** Here also we have a valid model, that can be interpreted, and here also $X_1$, has no impact on the residuals  B$e2=residuals(g2,type="pearson") g2e=lm(e2~X1,data=B) summary(g2e)   Coefficients: Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(&gt;|t|) (Inter.) 0.0004863 0.0031733 0.153 0.878 X1 0.0027979 0.0031504 0.888 0.374

The story is similar here. If we correct from the spatial pattern, claims frequency does not depend on the age of the driver.

So, what should we do now? We do have two models, and each of them is as interpretable as the other one. Note that we can not use any statistical tool to distinguish the two: they are comparable

 AIC(g1) [1] 51013.39 AIC(g2) [1] 51013.15

Why not incorporate the two explanatory variables $X_1$ and $X_2$, at the same time, in our regression model, and let “the model” decide what to do…?

 g=glm(Y~X1+X2,data=B,family=poisson) summary(g)   Coefficients: Estimate Std. Error z value Pr(&gt;|z|) (Inter.) -2.98132 0.01547 -192.723 2e-16 *** X1 0.49310 0.06226 7.920 2.38e-15 *** X2 0.49375 0.06225 7.931 2.17e-15 ***

It looks like we completely lost the interpretability of the model, since our two explanatory variables are (strongly) correlated. Actually, instead of saying “use one, and drop the other one (since it brings no further information)”, it says “use both, each one will explain half of the variable”. Strange interpretation, isn’t it?  So why not try some LASSO here?

library(glmnet) fit=glmnet(x=as.matrix(B[,c("X1","X2")]), y=B$Y,family="poisson") plot(fit,xvar="lambda") Here also, it says that we either keep both, or none. So it cannot be used for variable selection (which is an important motivation to use LASSO technique). So, what should be do if we several interpretable models, but no way to choose? Because usually, we claim that we prefer to use a model with an interpretation. But what should be done here? # What is a Linear Trend, by the way? I had a very strange discussion on twitter (yes, another one), about regression curves. I think it started with a tweet based on some xkcd picture (just for fun, because it was New Year’s Day) There were comments on that picture, by econometricians, mainly about ‘significant’ trends when datasets are very noisy. And I mentioned a graph that I saw earlier, a couple of days ago Let us reproduce that graph (Roger kindly sent me the dataset) db=data.frame(year=1990:2016, ratio=c(.23,.27,.32,.37,.22,.26,.29,.15,.40,.28,.14,.09,.24,.18,.29,.51,.13,.17,.25,.13,.21,.29,.25,.2,.15,.12,.12)) library(ggplot2) The graph is here (with the same aesthetic conventions as Roger’s initial graph, i.e. using some sort of barplot) ggplot(db, aes(year, ratio)) + geom_bar(stat="identity") + stat_smooth(method = "lm", se = FALSE) My point was that we miss the ‘confidence band’ of the regression In R, at least, it is quite natural to get (and actually, it is the default version of the graph function) ggplot(db, aes(year, ratio)) + geom_bar(stat="identity") + stat_smooth(method = "lm", se = TRUE) It is hard to claim that the ‘regression line’ is significant (in the sense “significantly non horizontal”). To be more specific, if we look at the output of the regression model, we get summary(lm(ratio~year,data=db))  Coefficients: Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|) (Intercept) 9.158531 4.549672 2.013 0.055 . year -0.004457 0.002271 -1.962 0.061 . --- Signif. codes: 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ’ 1 (which is exactly what Roger used in his graph to plot his red straight line). The p-value of the estimator of the slope, in a linear regression model is here 6%. But I found Roger’s point puzzling See also First of all, let us get back to a more standard graph, with a scatterplot, and not bars, ggplot(db, aes(year, ratio)) + stat_smooth(method = "lm") + geom_point()  Here, we observe points $\{y_{1990},y_{1991},\cdots,y_{2016}\}$. In order to draw that blue line, we assume (Econometrics 101, actually) that those observations are realizations of random variables $\{Y_{1990},Y_{1991},\cdots,Y_{2016}\}$. Randomness here does not come from a survey, or from ‘balls in an urn’. Randomness is because hurricanes and floods are themselves seen are realizations of random events. Yes, there might be measurement errors, but that’s not where randomness comes from (here). When we talk about ‘randomness’, it should be related to ‘model error’ i.e. the error we make if we consider a linear model (here), that is $$?Y_t=\beta_0+\beta_1t+\varepsilon_t$$ Even if observations are not obtained from balls in an urn, there is some kind of randomness here. Randomness means that we might have errors (random errors) around the estimated value (that is on the blue curve), $y_t=\widehat{y}_t+\widehat{\varepsilon}_t$. One might consider a nonlinear model to reduce the error, ggplot(db, aes(year, ratio)) + geom_point() + geom_smooth() but in the case, the danger is to overfit So yes, when we fit a linear model, there is always some kind of randomness, and it is possible to get a ‘confidence band’, that will be very useful for predictions (e.g. for reinsurance purpose here). # Ce que la courbe ROC (et l’AUC) ne raconte pas En préparant une intervention pour mardi prochain, j’épluchais les résultats renvoyés pour un exercice, et j’ai eu un résultat assez étrange avec un modèle de classification. J’avais donné la même base cet automne à l’ensae, et j’avais donc près d’une trentaine d’autres modèles, pour comparer (disons plutôt que sur la même base de test, j’ai une trentaine de prévisions). Les observations noires sont celles obtenues cet automne (le trait correspond aux meilleurs AUC sur la base de test), et les observations rouges sont celles que j’ai obtenu pour l’intervention de mardi (là encore, le trait vertical correspond aux meilleurs modèles, au sens du AUC), sur une observation de la base de test, Ce sont les probabilités prédites (mais j’ai enlevé l’échelle). Pour presque toutes mes observations, les poids rouges sont bien au dessus des autres… Mais cela n’enlève en rien le fait que l’AUC obtenu (pour les deux modèles rouges) est très bon. C’est effectivement un résultat important (et connu) : le critère AUC (mais plus généralement la courbe ROC en entier) n’indique en rien si la valeur prédite est bonne, ou pas. Il nous dit juste si l’ordre obtenu est correct. Si les valeurs les plus importantes sont effectivement les valeurs pour lesquelles on a un 1, l’AUC sera très bon. C’est ce qu’on peut observer sur le petit exemple ci-dessous. Considérons un modèle logistique simulé assez simple, > n=1e3 > set.seed(1) > x1=rnorm(n) > x2=runif(n) > u=-3+x2+x1 > p=exp(u)/(1+exp(u)) > y=rbinom(n,prob=p,size=1) > library(ROCR) > df=data.frame(y,x1,x2) > mean(df$y)
[1] 0.116
> reg=glm(y~.,data=df,family=binomial)
> p=predict(reg,type="response")
> mean(p)
[1] 0.116
> pred1=prediction(p, df$y) > L=performance(pred1, "tpr", "fpr") L’AUC est ici > auc=performance(pred1, "auc")@y.values[[1]] > auc [1] 0.7681191 et la courbe ROC est la suivante, > plot(unlist(L@x.values),unlist(L@y.values), + type="s",col="blue") Supposons que l’on change la constante du modèle logistique, > reg$coefficients[1]=0

Dans ce cas, notre prévision est assez mauvaise, car la probabilité moyenne prédite est ici

> u=reg$coefficients[1]+reg$coefficients[2]*
+ df$x1+reg$coefficients[3]*df$x2 > p=exp(u)/(1+exp(u)) > mean(p) [1] 0.6060676 (on est loin des 11,6% de 1 dans la base). Pourtant le AUC est bon > pred1=prediction(p, df$y)
> L=performance(pred1, "tpr", "fpr")
> auc=performance(pred1, "auc")@y.values[[1]]
> auc
[1] 0.7681191

(c’est en fait la même valeur qu’auparavant, ce qui a du sens puisque la courbe ROC est identique)

> lines(unlist(L@x.values),unlist(L@y.values),
+ type="s",col="red")

Autrement dit, ces outils, classiquement utilisés pour juger la qualité d’un classifieur, ne permettent en aucun cas de dire que la probabilité prédite a du sens. Ces critères permettent juste de dire qu’on identifie assez bien les personnes qui ont le plus de chance d’avoir la réponse 1. Ce qui n’est pas si mal… mais c’est un autre problème que celui d’avoir une probabilité qui soit pertinente.

# Data Science for Actuaries, Regression Models with R

After an introduction to Advanced R, we will discuss for the last part of our crash course visualization and graphs (from the previous set of slides), and I just uploaded additional slides on regression models (including some pdf version)

# How long could it take to run a regression

This afternoon, while I was discussing with Montserrat (aka @mguillen_estany) we were wondering how long it might take to run a regression model. More specifically, how long it might take if we use a Bayesian approach. My guess was that the time should probably be linear in $n$, the number of observations. But I thought I would be good to check.

Let us generate a big dataset, with one million rows,

> n=1e6
> X=runif(n)
> Y=2+5*X+rnorm(n)
> B=data.frame(X,Y)

Consider as a benchmark the standard linear regression,

> lm_freq = function(n){
+   idx = sample(1:1e6,size=n)
+   reg = lm(Y~X,data=B[idx,])
+   summary(reg)
+ }

Here the regression is a subset of smaller size. We can do the same with a Bayesian approach, using stan,

> stan_lm ="
+ data {
+ int N;
+ vector[N] x;
+ vector[N] y;
+ }
+ parameters {
+ real alpha;
+ real beta;
+ real tau;
+ }
+ transformed parameters {
+ real sigma;
+ sigma <- 1 / sqrt(tau);
+ }
+ model{
+ y ~ normal(alpha + beta * x, sigma);
+ alpha ~ normal(0, 10);
+ beta ~ normal(0, 10);
+ tau ~ gamma(0.001, 0.001);
+ }
+ "

Define then the model

> library(rstan)
> system.time(
stanmodel <<- stan_model(model_code = stan_lm))
utilisateur     système      écoulé
0.043       0.000       0.043

We want to see how long it might take to run a regression,

> lm_bayes = function(n){
+   idx = sample(1:1e6,size=n)
+   fit = sampling(stanmodel,
+       data = list(N=n,
+                   x=X[idx],
+                   y=Y[idx]),
+       iter = 1000, warmup=200)
+   summary(fit)
+ }

We use the following package to see how long it takes

> library(microbenchmark)
> time_lm = function(n){
+  M = microbenchmark(lm_freq(n),
+      lm_bayes(n),times=50)
+  return(apply( matrix(M$time,nrow=2),1,mean)) + } We can now compare the time it took with ten, one hundred, on thousand, and ten thousand observations, > vN = c(10,100,1000,10000) > T = Vectorize(time_lm)(vN) we can then plot it > plot(vN,T[2,]/1e6,log="xy",col="red",type="b", + xlab="Number of Observations",ylab="Time") > lines(vN,T[1,]/1e6,col="blue",type="b") It looks like (if we forget about the very small sample) that the time it takes to run a regression is linear, with the two techniques (the frequentist and the Bayesian ones). And actually, the same story olds for logistic regressions. Consider the following dataset > n=1e6 > X=runif(n) > S=-3+2*X+rnorm(n) > Y=rbinom(n,size=1,prob=exp(S)/(1+exp(S))) > B=data.frame(X,Y) The frequentist version of the logistic regression is > glm_freq = function(n){ + idx = sample(1:1e6,size=n) + reg = glm(Y~X,data=B[idx,],family=binomial) + summary(reg) + } and the Bayesian one, using stan, > stan_glm = " + data { + int N; + vector[N] x; + int<lower=0,upper=1> y[N]; + } + parameters { + real alpha; + real beta; + } + model { + alpha ~ normal(0, 10); + beta ~ normal(0, 10); + y ~ bernoulli_logit(alpha + beta * x); + } + " > stanmodel = stan_model(model_code = stan_glm) ) > glm_bayes = function(n){ + idx = sample(1:1e6,size=n) + fit = sampling(stanmodel, + data = list(N=n, + x = X[idx], + y = Y[idx]), + iter = 1000, warmup=200) + summary(fit) + } Again, we can see how long it takes to run those regression models > time_gl m= function(n){ + M = microbenchmark(glm_freq(n), + glm_bayes(n),times=50) + return(apply( matrix(M$time,nrow=2),1,mean))
+ }

# Computational Actuarial Science, with R, in Barcelona

This Wednesday, I will give a graduate crash course on computational actuarial science, with R, which will be the second part of the lecture of Tuesday. Slides are now available,

# Econometrics vs. Machine Learning with Temporal Patterns

A few months ago, I did publish a (long) post entitled ‘some thoughts on economics, mathematics, econometrics, machine learning, etc‘. In that post, I was discussing possible differences between foundations of econometrics, and machine learning. I wanted to get back today on an important point, related to training/sampling datasets, when we have temporal data.

I was discussing this morning, with a student of the Data Science for Actuaries program, an interesting point related to claim frequency models, for insurance ratemaking. Since the goal is to predict claims frequency (to assess the level of the insurance premium), he suggested to use old data to train the model, and more recent one to test it. The problem is that the model did not incorporate any temporal pattern, and we got surprising results.

Consider here a simple dataset,

> set.seed(1)
> n=50000
> X1=runif(n)
> T=sample(2000:2015,size=n,replace=TRUE)
> L=exp(-3+X1-(T-2000)/20)
> E=rbeta(n,5,1)
> Y=rpois(n,L*E)
> B=data.frame(Y,X1,L,T,E)

Claims frequency is driven by a Poisson process, with one covariate, X1, and we assume that the intensity decreases (with an exponential rate). Consider here a standard linear regression, without any time effect

> reg=glm(Y~X1+offset(log(E)),data=B,
+ family=poisson)

We can also compute the empirical annualized claims frequency

> u=seq(0,1,by=.01)
> v=predict(reg,newdata=data.frame(X1=u,E=1))
> p=function(x){
+   B=B[abs(B$X1-x)<.1,] + sum(B$Y)/sum(B$E) + } > vp=Vectorize(p)(seq(.05,.95,by=.1)) and plot the two curves on the same graph, > plot(seq(.05,.95,by=.1),vp,type="b") > lines(u,exp(v),lty=2,col="red") This is what we usually do in econometrics. In machine learning, and more specifically to assess the quality of the model, and for model selection, it is common to split the dataset in two parts. A training sample, and a validation sample. Consider some randomized training/validation samples, then fit a model on the training sample, and finally use it to get a prediction, > idx=sample(1:nrow(B),size=nrow(B)*7/8) > B_a=B[idx,] > B_t=B[-idx,] > reg=glm(Y~X1+offset(log(E)),data=B_a, + family=poisson) > u=seq(0,1,by=.01) > v=predict(reg,newdata=data.frame(X1=u,E=1)) > p=function(x){ + B=B_a[abs(B_a$X1-x)<.1,]
+   sum(B$Y)/sum(B$E)
+ }
> vp_a=Vectorize(p)(seq(.05,.95,by=.1))
> plot(seq(.05,.95,by=.1),vp_a,col="blue")
> lines(u,exp(v),lty=2)
> p=function(x){
+   B=B_t[abs(B_t$X1-x)<.1,] + sum(B$Y)/sum(B$E) + } > vp_t=Vectorize(p)(seq(.05,.95,by=.1)) > lines(seq(.05,.95,by=.1),vp_t,col="red") The blue curve is the prediction on the training sample (as we usually do in econometrics), but then the red curve is the prediction on the testing sample. Here, volatility probably comes from the small size of the testing sample (1 observation out of 8). Now, what if we use the year as a splitting criteria : we fit a model on old years to fit a model, and we test it on recent years, > B_a=subset(B,T<2014) > B_t=subset(B,T>=2014) > reg=glm(Y~X1+offset(log(E)),data=B_a,family=poisson) > u=seq(0,1,by=.01) > v=predict(reg,newdata=data.frame(X1=u,E=1)) > p=function(x){ + B=B_a[abs(B_a$X1-x)<.1,]
+   sum(B$Y)/sum(B$E)
+ }
> vp_a=Vectorize(p)(seq(.05,.95,by=.1))
> plot(seq(.05,.95,by=.1),vp_a,col="blue")
> lines(u,exp(v),lty=2)
> p=function(x){
+   B=B_t[abs(B_t$X1-x)<.1,] + sum(B$Y)/sum(B$E) + } > vp_t=Vectorize(p)(seq(.05,.95,by=.1)) > lines(seq(.05,.95,by=.1),vp_t,col="red") Clearly, we miss something here… We were looking at such a graph this morning, and it took me some time to understand how training and validation samples were designed, and that there was a possible temporal effect (actually, this morning, it was based on a 3 year training sample, and a 1 year validation sample). Since there is a temporal pattern, let us capture it. As an econometrician, let me use a regression model > reg=glm(Y~X1+T+offset(log(E)),data=B, + family=poisson) > C=coefficients(reg) > u=seq(1999,2016,by=.1) > v=exp(-(u-2000)/20-3) > plot(2000:2015,exp(C[1]+C[3]*(2000:2015))) > lines(u,v,lty=2,col="red") (I focus only on the evolution of the temporal variate on that graph). Here, we use a linear model, but there are usually no reason to assume linearity. So we might consider splines > library(splines) > reg=glm(Y~X1+bs(T)+offset(log(E)), + data=B,family=poisson) > u=seq(1999,2016,by=.1) > v=exp(-(u-2000)/20-3) > v2=predict(reg,newdata=data.frame(X1=0, + T=2000:2015,E=1)) > plot(2000:2015,exp(v2),type="b") > lines(u,v,lty=2,col="red") But here again, why should we assume that there is an underlying smooth function? There might be some ruptures… So let us consider a regression on factors > reg=glm(Y~0+X1+as.factor(T)+offset(log(E)), + data=B,family=poisson) > C=coefficients(reg) > u=seq(1999,2016,by=.1) > v=exp(-(u-2000)/20-3) > plot(2000:2015,exp(C[2:17]),type="b") > lines(u,v,lty=2,col="red") An alternative might be to consider some more general model, like a regression tree > library(rpart) > reg=rpart(Y~X1+T+offset(log(E)),data=B, + method="poisson",cp=1e-4) > p=function(t){ + B=B[B$T==t,]
+   B$E=1 + mean(predict(reg,newdata=B)) + } > y_m=Vectorize(function(t) p(t))(2000:2015) > u=seq(1999,2016,by=.1) > v=exp(-(u-2000)/20-3+.5) > plot(2000:2015,y_m,ylim=c(.02,.085),type="b") > lines(u,v,lty=2,col="red") Here, it seems that something went wrong. I guess it’s coming from the exposure. So consider a simplier model, on the annualized frequency, and with weights that are related to the exposure > reg=rpart(Y/E~X1+T,data=B,weights=B$E,cp=1e-4)
> p=function(t){
+   B=B[B$T==t,] + B$E=1
+   mean(predict(reg,newdata=B))
+ }
> y_m=Vectorize(function(t) p(t))(2000:2015)
> u=seq(1999,2016,by=.1)
> v=exp(-(u-2000)/20-3+.5)
> plot(2000:2015,y_m,ylim=c(.02,.085),type="b")
> lines(u,v,lty=2,col="red")

That was for the econometrician perspective. With a machine learning perspective, consider a training sample (here based on old data) and a validation sample (based on more recent ones)

> B_a=subset(B,T<2014)
> B_t=subset(B,T>=2014)

If we consider a model, it is easy to get a prediction on recent years, even if the model was designed to model older ones,

> reg_a=glm(Y~X1+T+offset(log(E)),
+ data=B_a,family=poisson)
> C=coefficients(reg_a)
> u=seq(1999,2016,by=.1)
> v=exp(-(u-2000)/20-3)
> plot(2000:2015,exp(C[1]+C[3]*c(2000:2013,
+ NA,NA)),type="b")
> lines(u,v,lty=2,col="red")
> points(2014:2015,exp(C[1]+C[3]*2014:2015),
+ pch=19,col="blue")

But if we use years as factors, things are more complicated.

> reg_a=glm(Y~0+X1+as.factor(T)+offset(log(E)),
+ data=B_a,family=poisson)
> C=coefficients(reg_a)
> RMSE=function(A){
+   L=exp(C[1]*B_t$X1+ A[1]*(B_t$T==2014) + A[2]*(B_t$T==2015)) + Y_t=L*B_t$E
+   sum( (Y_t - B_t$Y )^2)} > i=optim(c(.4,.4),RMSE)$par
> plot(2000:2015,c(exp(C[2:15]),NA,NA),)
> u=seq(1999,2016,by=.1)
> v=exp(-(u-2000)/20-3)
> lines(u,v,lty=2,col="red")
> points(2014:2015,exp(i),pch=19,col="blue")

becase we need to get a prediction on levels that were not in our training sample. Here, we minimize the RMSE to quantify factor levels for recent years. And the output is not that bad.

So yes, it is possible to get a training dataset on older data, and test it on recent years. But one should be careful, and take into account, properly, temporal patterns.

# An Attempt to Understand Boosting Algorithm(s)

Last tuesday, at the annual meeting of the French Economic Association, I was having lunch with Alfred, and while we were chatting about modeling issues (econometric models against machine learning prediction), he asked me what boosting was. Since I could not be very specific, we’ve been looking at wikipedia webpage.

Boosting is a machine learning ensemble meta-algorithm for reducing bias primarily and also variance in supervised learning, and a family of machine learning algorithms which convert weak learners to strong ones

One should admit that it is not very informative. But at least, there is the idea that ‘weak learners’ can be used to provide a good predictor. Now, to be honest, I guess I understand the concept. But I still can’t reproduce what I got with standard ‘boosting’ packages.

There are a lot of publications about the concept of ‘boosting’. In 1988, Michael Kearns published Thoughts on Hypothesis Boosting, which is probably the oldest one. About the algorithms, it is possible to find some references. Consider for instance Improving Regressors using Boosting Techniques, by Harris Drucker. Or The Boosting Approach to Machine Learning An Overview by Robert Schapire, among many others. In order to illustrate the use of boosting in the context of regression (and not classification, since I believe it provides a better visualisation) consider the section in Dong-Sheng Cao’s In The boosting: A new idea of building models.