# #nls

Why are derivatives important in life? A case-study with nonlinear regression

Published at June 9, 2021 ·  7 min read

In general, undergraduate students in biology/ecology courses tend to consider the derivatives as a very abstract entity, with no real usefulness in the everyday life. In my work as a teacher, I have often tried to fight against such an attitude, by providing convincing examples on how we can use the derivatives to get a better understanding about the changes on a given system. In this post I’ll tell you about a recent situation where I was involved with derivatives....

The R-squared and nonlinear regression: a difficult marriage?

Published at March 25, 2021 ·  4 min read

Making sure that a fitted model gives a good description of the observed data is a fundamental step of every nonlinear regression analysis. To this aim we can (and should) use several techniques, either graphical or based on formal hypothesis testing methods. However, in the end, I must admit that I often feel the need of displaying a simple index, based on a single and largely understood value, that reassures the readers about the goodness of fit of my models....

Pairwise comparisons in nonlinear regression

Published at January 19, 2021 ·  6 min read

Pairwise comparisons are one of the most debated topic in agricultural research: they are very often used and, sometimes, abused, in literature. I have nothing against the appropriate use of this very useful technique and, for those who are interested, some colleagues and I have given a bunch of (hopefully) useful suggestions in a paper, a few years ago (follow this link here). Pairwise comparisons usually follow the application of some sort of linear or generalised linear model; in this setting, the ‘emmeans’ package (Lenth, 2020) is very handy, as it uses a very logical approach....

A collection of self-starters for nonlinear regression in R

Published at February 26, 2020 ·  29 min read

Usually, the first step of every nonlinear regression analysis is to select the function $$f$$, which best describes the phenomenon under study. The next step is to fit this function to the observed data, possibly by using some sort of nonlinear least squares algorithms. These algorithms are iterative, in the sense that they start from some initial values of model parameters and repeat a sequence of operations, which continuously improve the initial guesses, until the least squares solution is approximately reached....

Self-starting routines for nonlinear regression models

Published at February 14, 2020 ·  8 min read

In R, the drc package represents one of the main solutions for nonlinear regression and dose-response analyses (Ritz et al., 2015). It comes with a lot of nonlinear models, which are useful to describe several biological processes, from plant growth to bioassays, from herbicide degradation to seed germination. These models are provided with self-starting functions, which free the user from the hassle of providing initial guesses for model parameters. Indeed, getting these guesses may be a tricky task, both for students and for practitioners....

Nonlinear combinations of model parameters in regression

Published at January 9, 2020 ·  11 min read

Nonlinear regression plays an important role in my research and teaching activities. While I often use the ‘drm()’ function in the ‘drc’ package for my research work, I tend to prefer the ‘nls()’ function for teaching purposes, mainly because, in my opinion, the transition from linear models to nonlinear models is smoother, for beginners. One problem with ‘nls()’ is that, in contrast to ‘drm()’, it is not specifically tailored to the needs of biologists or students in biology....

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