Generalised linear models

Using the machinery of linear regression to predict in somewhat more general regressions, using least-squares or quasi-likelihood approaches. This means you are still doing something like familiar linear regression, but outside the setting of e.g. linear response and possibly homoskedastic Gaussian noise.


Discover the magical powers of log-concavity and what they enable.

Classic linear models

Consider the original linear model. We have a (column) vector \(\mathbf{y}=[y_1,y_2,\dots,t_n]^T\) of \(n\) observations, an \(n\times p\) matrix \(\mathbf{X}\) of \(p\) covariates, where each column corresponds to a different covariate and each row to a different observation.

We assume the observations are assumed to related to the covariates by

\[ \mathbf{y}=\mathbf{Xb}+\mathbf{e} \]

where \(\mathbf{b}=[b_1,y_2,\dots,b_p]\) gives the parameters of the model which we don’t yet know, We call \(\mathbf{e}\) the “residual” vector. Legendre and Gauss pioneered the estimation of the parameters of a linear model by minimising the squared residuals, \(\mathbf{e}^T\mathbf{e}\), i.e.

\[ \begin{aligned}\hat{\mathbf{b}} &=\operatorname{arg min}_\mathbf{b} (\mathbf{y}-\mathbf{Xb})^T (\mathbf{y}-\mathbf{Xb})\\ &=\operatorname{arg min}_\mathbf{b} \|\mathbf{y}-\mathbf{Xb}\|_2\\ &=\mathbf{X}^+\mathbf{y} \end{aligned} \]

where we find the pseudo inverse \(\mathbf{X}^+\) using a numerical solver of some kind, using one of many carefully optimised methods that exists for least squares.

So far there is no statistical argument, merely function approximation.

However it turns out that if you assume that the \(\mathbf{e}_i\) are distributed randomly and independently i.i.d. errors in the observations (or at least indepenedent with constant variance), then there is also a statistical justification for this idea;

🏗 more exposition of these. Linkage to Maximum likelihood.

Generalised linear models

The original extension. Kenneth Tay’s explanation is simple and efficient.

To learn:

  • When we can do this? e.g. Must the response be from an exponential family for really real? What happens if not?
  • Does anything funky happen with regularisation? what?
  • When you combine all these fancy GLM extensions, how do you work out if your parameters are identifiable?
  • non-monotonic relations between predictors - how does one handle these?
  • model selection?

Response distribution

🏗 What constraints do we have here?

Linear Predictor



An generalisation of likelihood of use in some tricky corners of GLMs. (Wedderburn 1976) used it to provide a unified GLM/ML rationale.

I don’t yet understand it.

Heyde says (Heyde 1997):

Historically there are two principal themes in statistical parameter estimation theory

It is now possible to unify these approaches under the general description of quasi-likelihood and to develop the theory of parameter estimation in a very general setting. […]

It turns out that the theory needs to be developed in terms of estimating functions (functions of both the data and the parameter) rather than the estimators themselves. Thus, our focus will be on functions that have the value of the parameter as a root rather than the parameter itself.

Hierarchical generalised linear models

GLM + hierarchical model = HGLM.

Generalised additive models

Generalised generalised linear models.

Semiparametric simultaneous discovery of some non-linear predictors and their response curve under the assumption that the interaction is additive in the transformed predictors

\[ g(\operatorname{E}(Y))=\beta_0 + f_1(x_1) + f_2(x_2)+ \cdots + f_m(x_m). \]

These have now also been generalised in the obvious way.

Generalised additive models for location, scale and shape

Folding GARCH and other regession models into GAMs.

GAMLSS website:

GAMLSS is a modern distribution-based approach to (semiparametric) regression models, where all the parameters of the assumed distribution for the response can be modelled as additive functions of the explanatory variables

Generalised hierarchical additive models for location, scale and shape

Exercise for the student.

Generalised estimating equations


But see Johnny Hong and Kellie Ottoboni


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