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From Luc Maisonobe <>
Subject Re: [math] algorithm to establish value of parameter giving max value of equation
Date Wed, 28 May 2008 19:21:42 GMT
Luc Maisonobe a écrit :
> Adam Hardy wrote:
>> Please excuse my ignorance to begin with, it's been years since my last
>> mathematics or statistics class in school. I looked through the user
>> guide on but I was struggling with the terminology,
>> and had a hard time figuring out whether I could find what I'm looking for.
> No problem.
>> Also apologies if this is the wrong list - I'm following the advice on
>> the commons-math proposal page which said to post here.
> This is the right list.
>> I have two equations:
>> HPR = (( profit_loss / biggest_loss ) * f ) + 1
>> where HPR = 'holding period return' (percent gain)
>> profit_loss = dollar win (or loss if negative)
>> biggest_loss = worst loss (given beforehand)
>> and f = 'fixed fraction' (to optimize)
>> TWR = product of all HPRs for a series of profits and losses from a
>> financial trading or gambling system for value of f
>> Solving this by "brute force", I would find the value of 'f' by
>> incrementing up from 0.01 in steps of perhaps 0.01 and solving TWR for
>> each value until TWR peaks.
>> Fortunately it will always peak before f reaches 1.0.
>> Would it be possible to use part of commons-math to do this rather than
>> writing loops within loops to iterate the profits and losses and then
>> the f-values?
> In mathematical terms, your TWR computation is univariate function, i.e.
> a function of one parameter: the f value. You want to find the value of
> the parameter for which the function reaches an extremum.
> In this case (only one parameter), the simplest way to solve it is to
> find for which value of f the slope of the function changes from
> increasing to decreasing. The slope is the "derivative" of the function,
> it is positive when the function is increasing, negative when the
> function is decreasing and zero when the function is at an extremum. The
> derivative of a function is often noted by adding a ' character after
> the name of the function.
> In other words, you need to solve the equation TWR'(f) = 0
> The part of [math] that can help you is the analysis package, and the
> solvers it provides.
> You start by implementing the function you want to solve (here the
> derivative of TWR) as a class implementing the UnivariateRealFunction
> interface. Here are the equations you need in your case:
> compute each HPR and put them in an array:
>   hpr[i] = 1 + f * pl[i] / b[i];
> compute the derivative of each HPR and put them in another array:
>   hprPrime[i] = pl[i] / b[i];
> compute the derivative of TWR as follows:
>   double twr = 0;
>   for (int i = 0; i < hprPrime.length; ++i) {
>       double d = hprPrime[i];
>       for (int j = 0; j < hpr.length; ++j) {
>           if (j != i) {
>               d *= hpr[i];

there is an error here, it should be:
   d *= hpr[j];


>           }
>       }
>       twr += d;
>   }
>   return twr;
> Then you provide an instance of the class implementing this equation to
> the constructor of a solver (say the BrentSolver for instance, it is a
> good one). Call the solve method of the solver with the parameters 0.0
> and 1.0 to search the solution of the equation in the [0.0, 1.0]
> interval. This method will call your class several times, searching for
> the solution until it converges to a small interval around the solution.
> You can tune the solver by calling some tuning methods before you call
> solve. You can for example change the convergence threshold (see the
> methods in the UnivariateRealSolver interface this solver implements).
> Beware that if the derivative increases (or decreases) at both ends of
> the interval you provide to the solve method, the solver will complain
> that this interval does not bracket a zero. In your case, this will for
> example happen if the pl and b arrays contain only one element.
> Beware also that what this method will find is an extremum ... which may
> be a minumum and not a maximum if the function decreases first and
> increases afterwards. This may not be what you want.
> I advise you to check this does work and that this leads to the right
> solution (you can plot a few points around the solution found, to check
> it). I have just written this mail in a hurry and may well be wrong on
> the algorithm to compute the derivative for your function.
> Hope this helps,
> Luc
>> Best regards
>> Adam
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