constrain: Constrain Parameters of a Model

View source: R/constrain.R

constrainR Documentation

Constrain Parameters of a Model


Constrain a model to make submodels with fewer parameters. If f is a function that takes a vector x as its first argument, this function returns a new function that takes a shorter vector x with some elements constrained in some way; parameters can be fixed to particular values, constrained to be the same as other parameters, or arbitrary expressions of free parameters.


constrain(f, ..., formulae=NULL, names=argnames(f), extra=NULL)
constrain.i(f, p,



A function to constrain.


Formulae indicating how the function should be constrained (see Details and Examples).


Optional list of constraints, possibly in addition to those in ...


Optional Character vector of names, the same length as the number of parameters in x. Use this only if argnames does not return a vector for your function. Generally this should not be used.


Optional vector of additional names that might appear on the RHS of constraints but do not represent names in the function's argnames. This can be used to set up dummy variables (example coming later).


A parameter vector (for constrain.i) indicating values for all parameters.

Indices of the parameters that are not constrained. Other indices will get the value in p. The element of p[] will never be used and can be zero, NA, or any other value.


The relationships are specified in the form target ~ rel, where target is the name of a vector to be constrained, and rel is some relationship. For example lambda0 ~ lambda1 would have the effect of making the parameters lambda0 and lambda1 take the same value.

The rel term can be a constant (e.g., target ~ 0), another parameter (as above) or some expression of the parameters (e.g., lambda0 ~ 2 * lambda1 or lambda0 ~ lambda1 - mu1).

Terms that appear on the right hand side of an expression may not be constrained in another expression, and no term may be constrained twice.


This function returns a constrained function that can be passed through to find.mle and mcmc. It will behave like any other function. However, it has a modified class attribute so that some methods will dispatch differently (argnames, for example). All arguments in addition to x will be passed through to the original function f.

For help in designing constrained models, the returned function has an additional argument pars.only, when this is TRUE the function will return a named vector of arguments rather than evaluate the function (see Examples).


Only a few checks are done to ensure that the resulting function makes any sense; it is possible that I have missed some cases. There is currently no way of modifying constrained functions to remove the constraints. These weaknesses will be addressed in a future version.


Richard G. FitzJohn


## Due to a change in sample() behaviour in newer R it is necessary to
## use an older algorithm to replicate the previous examples
if (getRversion() >= "3.6.0") {
  RNGkind(sample.kind = "Rounding")

## Same example likelihood function as for \link{find.mle} - BiSSE on a
## tree with 203 species, generated with an asymmetry in the speciation
## rates.
pars <- c(0.1, 0.2, 0.03, 0.03, 0.01, 0.01)
phy <- tree.bisse(pars, max.t=60, x0=0)
lik <- make.bisse(phy, phy$tip.state)

argnames(lik) # Canonical argument names

## Specify equal speciation rates
lik.2 <- constrain(lik, lambda0 ~ lambda1)
argnames(lik.2) # Note lambda0 now missing

## On constrained functions, use the "pars.only" argument to see what
## the full argument list would be:
lik.2(c(.1, pars[3:6]), pars.only=TRUE)

## Check this works:
lik(c(.1, .1, pars[3:6])) == lik.2(c(.1, pars[3:6]))

## For optimisation of these functions, see \link{find.mle}, which
## includes an example.

## More complicated; constrain lambda0 to half of lambda1, constrain mu0
## to be the same mu1, and set q01 equal to zero.
lik.3 <- constrain(lik, lambda0 ~ lambda1 / 2, mu0 ~ mu1, q01 ~ 0)
argnames(lik.3) # lambda1, mu1, q10
lik(c(.1, .2, .03, .03, 0, .01)) == lik.3(c(.2, .03, .01))

## Alternatively, coefficients can be specified using a list of
## constraints:
cons <- list(lambda1 ~ lambda0, mu1 ~ mu0, q10 ~ q01)
constrain(lik, formulae=cons)

## Using the "extra" argument allows recasting things to dummy
## parameters.  Here both lambda0 and lambda1 are mapped to the
## parameter "lambda":
lik.4 <- constrain(lik, lambda0 ~ lambda, lambda1 ~ lambda, extra="lambda")

## constrain.i can be useful for setting a number of values at once.
## Suppose we wanted to look at the shape of the likelihood surface with
## respect to one parameter around the ML point.  For this tree, the ML
## point is approximately: <- c(0.09934, 0.19606, 0.02382, 0.03208, 0.01005, 0.00982)

## Leaving just lambda1 (which is parameter number 2) free:
lik.l1 <- constrain.i(lik,, 2)

## The function now reports that five of the parameters are constrained,
## with one free (lambda1)

## Likewise:

## Looking in the neighbourhood of the ML point, the likelihood surface
## is approximately quadratic:
pp <- seq([2] - .02,[2] + .02, length.out=15)
yy <- sapply(pp, lik.l1)
plot(yy ~ pp, type="b", xlab="lambda 1", ylab="Log likelihood")
abline([2], col="red", lty=2)

## pars.only works as above, returning the full parameter vector
lik.l1([2], pars.only=TRUE)
identical(, lik.l1([2], pars.only=TRUE))

diversitree documentation built on May 29, 2024, 4:38 a.m.