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From S├ębastien Brisard <sebastien.bris...@m4x.org>
Subject [math] Exposing the Lanczos approximation in o.a.c.m3.special.Gamma?
Date Tue, 08 May 2012 15:26:02 GMT
Hi,
I've spent quite some time on MATH-753 [1], and I think I now have a
satisfactory solution.
The problem was to overcome the overflows which arise when computing
the density of the Gamma distribution for large values of the argument
and/or the scale parameter.

As I initially feared, what was proposed in the JIRA ticket leads to
high floating point errors. I adapted a method proposed in BOOST [2]
with acceptable errors. Meanwhile, I've also managed to improve the
accuracy of the computation of the density for the range of parameters
where the previous implementation was already working: in this range,
the accuracy *was* about 300 ulps, and is now 1-2 ulps! I think this
improvement is worth implementing.

The downside is that I need to expose the Lanczos implementation
internally used by o.a.c.m3.special.Gamma. This approximation is so
standard that I don't see it as a problem. I don't think that it
reveals too much of the Gamma internals, since the javadoc of
Gamma.logGamma states that it uses this approximation. So what I
propose is the addition of two methods in Gamma:
double getLanczosG(): returns the g constant
double getLanczos(double): returns the value of the Lanczos sum.

If you do not like this option, I can copy/paste the Lanczos
approximation in the GammaDistribution class. I'm adverse to the
latter option, as it leads to code duplication.

What do you think?

Best regards,
S├ębastien

[1] https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/MATH-753
[2] http://www.boost.org/doc/libs/1_35_0/libs/math/doc/sf_and_dist/html/math_toolkit/special/sf_gamma/igamma.html,
formula (15)
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanczos_approximation, formula below
"[...] the sum is recast into the following form:"


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