# Re: [R] glm.fit: "fitted probabilities numerically 0 or 1 occurr

From: Werner Wernersen <pensterfuzzer_at_yahoo.de>
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2008 20:33:35 +0100 (CET)

Thanks Ted and Professor Ripley for the very helpful answers! Now I know what the problem is in my case.

All the best,
Werner

• Ted.Harding_at_manchester.ac.uk schrieb:

> On 11-Mar-08 08:58:55, Werner Wernersen wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > could anyone explain to me what this warning
> message
> > exactly means and what the consequences are?
> > Is it due to the fact that there are very extreme
> > observations / outliers included or what is the
> reason
> > for it?
> >
> > Thanks so much,
> > Werner
>
> What it means is exactly what it says. How it arises
> will
> probably be some variant of the following kind of
> data
> (I'm guessing that your application of glm() was to
> data
> with 0/1 responses, as in a logistic regression):
>
> X = 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 ...
> Y = 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 ...
>
> i.e. all the 0's occur on one side of a value (say
> 1.25)
> of X, and all the 1's occur on the other side.
>
> If you take a model (e.g. logistic):
>
> P(Y=1 | X) = exp((X-a)*b)/(1 + exp((X-a)*b))
>
> then, for any finite values of a and b, the formula
> will
> give a value >0 for P(Y=1 | X) where X < 1.25 (i.e.
> where
> Y=0) so P(Y=0 | X) < 1; and a value <1 for P(Y=1 |
> X)
> where X > 1.25 (i.e. Y=1).
>
> However, if you take say a=1.25 (a value which
> separates the
> 0's from the 1,s), and then let b -> infinity, then
> you will
> find that
>
> P(Y=0 | X) -> 1, P(Y=1 | X) -> 0, for X < 1.25
> P(Y=0 | X) -> 0, P(Y=1 | X) -> 1, for X > 1.25
>
> so the limit as b -> inf perfectly predicts the
> observed outcome.
>
> However, the value of a is indeterminate so long as
> it is
> between the largest X for the Y=0 observations, and
> the smallest
> X for the Y=1 observations.
>
> This situation cannot arise with data where the
> largest X for
> which Y=0 is greater than the smallest X for which
> Y=1, e.g.
>
> X = 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 ...
> Y = 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 ...
>
> The above example is a very simple example of what
> is called
> "linear separation". It arises more generally when
> there are
> several covariates X1, X2, ... , Xk and there is a
> linear
> function
>
> L = a1*X1 + a2*X2 + ... + ak*Xk
>
> for which (with the data as observed) there is a
> value L0
> such that
>
> Y = 0 for all the data such that L < L0
> Y = 1 for all the data such that L > L0
>
> In particular, if ever the number of covariates (k)
> is greater
> than (n-2), where n is the number of cases in your
> data, then
> you have (k+1) or fewer points in k dimensions, and
> there will
> be a k-dimensional plane (as given by L above) which
> will
> separate the (X1,...,Xk)-points where Y=0 from the
> (X1,...,Xk)-points where Y=1. Regardless of how you
> assign labels
> "Y=0" and "Y=1" to (k+1) or fewer points, they will
> be linearly
> separable.
>
> Even if k < n-1, so that they are not *in general*
> linearly
> separated, there is still a a positive probability
> that you
> can get data for which they are linerally separated;
> and
> then the same situation arises. This probability
> increases
> as the number of covariates (k) increases.
>
> What the warning message is telling you is that a
> perfect
> fit is possible within the parametrisation of the
> model:
> a probability P(Y=1)=0 is fitted to cases where the
> observed
> Y = 0; and a probability P(Y=1)=1 is fitted to cases
> where
> the observed Y = 1.
>
> Best wishes,
> Ted.
>
>

> E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding@manchester.ac.uk>
> Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
> Date: 11-Mar-08
> Time: 10:08:04
> ------------------------------ XFMail
> ------------------------------
>

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