Performing Fits and Analyzing Outputs¶
As shown in the previous chapter, a simple fit can be performed with the
minimize()
function. For more sophisticated modeling, the
Minimizer
class can be used to gain a bit more control, especially
when using complicated constraints or comparing results from related fits.
The minimize()
function¶
The minimize()
function is a wrapper around Minimizer
for
running an optimization problem. It takes an objective function (the
function that calculates the array to be minimized), a Parameters
object, and several optional arguments. See Writing a Fitting Function for
details on writing the objective function.

minimize
(fcn, params, method='leastsq', args=None, kws=None, iter_cb=None, scale_covar=True, nan_policy='raise', reduce_fcn=None, calc_covar=True, max_nfev=None, **fit_kws)¶ Perform a fit of a set of parameters by minimizing an objective (or cost) function using one of the several available methods.
The minimize function takes an objective function to be minimized, a dictionary (
Parameters
) containing the model parameters, and several optional arguments. Parameters
fcn (callable) – Objective function to be minimized. When method is leastsq or least_squares, the objective function should return an array of residuals (difference between model and data) to be minimized in a leastsquares sense. With the scalar methods the objective function can either return the residuals array or a single scalar value. The function must have the signature: fcn(params, *args, **kws)
params (
Parameters
) – Contains the Parameters for the model.method (str, optional) –
Name of the fitting method to use. Valid values are:
’leastsq’: LevenbergMarquardt (default)
’least_squares’: LeastSquares minimization, using Trust Region Reflective method
’differential_evolution’: differential evolution
’brute’: brute force method
’basinhopping’: basinhopping
’ampgo’: Adaptive Memory Programming for Global Optimization
’nelder’: NelderMead
’lbfgsb’: LBFGSB
’powell’: Powell
’cg’: ConjugateGradient
’newton’: NewtonCG
’cobyla’: Cobyla
’bfgs’: BFGS
’tnc’: Truncated Newton
’trustncg’: NewtonCG trustregion
’trustexact’: nearly exact trustregion
’trustkrylov’: Newton GLTR trustregion
’trustconstr’: trustregion for constrained optimization
’dogleg’: Dogleg trustregion
’slsqp’: Sequential Linear Squares Programming
’emcee’: Maximum likelihood via MonteCarlo Markov Chain
’shgo’: Simplicial Homology Global Optimization
’dual_annealing’: Dual Annealing optimization
In most cases, these methods wrap and use the method of the same name from scipy.optimize, or use scipy.optimize.minimize with the same method argument. Thus ‘leastsq’ will use scipy.optimize.leastsq, while ‘powell’ will use scipy.optimize.minimizer(…, method=’powell’)
For more details on the fitting methods please refer to the SciPy docs.
args (tuple, optional) – Positional arguments to pass to fcn.
kws (dict, optional) – Keyword arguments to pass to fcn.
iter_cb (callable, optional) – Function to be called at each fit iteration. This function should have the signature iter_cb(params, iter, resid, *args, **kws), where params will have the current parameter values, iter the iteration number, resid the current residual array, and *args and **kws as passed to the objective function.
scale_covar (bool, optional) – Whether to automatically scale the covariance matrix (default is True).
nan_policy (str, optional) –
Specifies action if userfcn (or a Jacobian) returns NaN values. One of:
’raise’ : a ValueError is raised
’propagate’ : the values returned from userfcn are unaltered
’omit’ : nonfinite values are filtered
reduce_fcn (str or callable, optional) – Function to convert a residual array to a scalar value for the scalar minimizers. See notes in Minimizer.
calc_covar (bool, optional) – Whether to calculate the covariance matrix (default is True) for solvers other than leastsq and least_squares. Requires the numdifftools package to be installed.
max_nfev (int or None, optional) – Maximum number of function evaluations (default is None). The default value depends on the fitting method.
**fit_kws (dict, optional) – Options to pass to the minimizer being used.
 Returns
Object containing the optimized parameter and several goodnessoffit statistics.
 Return type
Changed in version 0.9.0: Return value changed to
MinimizerResult
.Notes
The objective function should return the value to be minimized. For the LevenbergMarquardt algorithm from leastsq(), this returned value must be an array, with a length greater than or equal to the number of fitting variables in the model. For the other methods, the return value can either be a scalar or an array. If an array is returned, the sum of squares of the array will be sent to the underlying fitting method, effectively doing a leastsquares optimization of the return values.
A common use for args and kws would be to pass in other data needed to calculate the residual, including such things as the data array, dependent variable, uncertainties in the data, and other data structures for the model calculation.
On output, params will be unchanged. The bestfit values and, where appropriate, estimated uncertainties and correlations, will all be contained in the returned
MinimizerResult
. See MinimizerResult – the optimization result for further details.This function is simply a wrapper around
Minimizer
and is equivalent to:fitter = Minimizer(fcn, params, fcn_args=args, fcn_kws=kws, iter_cb=iter_cb, scale_covar=scale_covar, nan_policy=nan_policy, reduce_fcn=reduce_fcn, calc_covar=calc_covar, **fit_kws) fitter.minimize(method=method)
Writing a Fitting Function¶
An important component of a fit is writing a function to be minimized – the objective function. Since this function will be called by other routines, there are fairly stringent requirements for its call signature and return value. In principle, your function can be any Python callable, but it must look like this:

func(params, *args, **kws):
Calculate objective residual to be minimized from parameters.
 Parameters
params (
Parameters
) – Parameters.args – Positional arguments. Must match
args
argument tominimize()
.kws – Keyword arguments. Must match
kws
argument tominimize()
.
 Returns
Residual array (generally datamodel) to be minimized in the leastsquares sense.
 Return type
numpy.ndarray. The length of this array cannot change between calls.
A common use for the positional and keyword arguments would be to pass in other data needed to calculate the residual, including things as the data array, dependent variable, uncertainties in the data, and other data structures for the model calculation.
The objective function should return the value to be minimized. For the
LevenbergMarquardt algorithm from leastsq()
, this returned value must be an
array, with a length greater than or equal to the number of fitting variables in the
model. For the other methods, the return value can either be a scalar or an array. If an
array is returned, the sum of squares of the array will be sent to the underlying fitting
method, effectively doing a leastsquares optimization of the return values.
Since the function will be passed in a dictionary of Parameters
, it is advisable
to unpack these to get numerical values at the top of the function. A
simple way to do this is with Parameters.valuesdict()
, as shown below:
from numpy import exp, sign, sin, pi
def residual(pars, x, data=None, eps=None):
# unpack parameters: extract .value attribute for each parameter
parvals = pars.valuesdict()
period = parvals['period']
shift = parvals['shift']
decay = parvals['decay']
if abs(shift) > pi/2:
shift = shift  sign(shift)*pi
if abs(period) < 1.e10:
period = sign(period)*1.e10
model = parvals['amp'] * sin(shift + x/period) * exp(x*x*decay*decay)
if data is None:
return model
if eps is None:
return model  data
return (modeldata) / eps
In this example, x
is a positional (required) argument, while the
data
array is actually optional (so that the function returns the model
calculation if the data is neglected). Also note that the model
calculation will divide x
by the value of the period
Parameter. It
might be wise to ensure this parameter cannot be 0. It would be possible
to use bounds on the Parameter
to do this:
params['period'] = Parameter(value=2, min=1.e10)
but putting this directly in the function with:
if abs(period) < 1.e10:
period = sign(period)*1.e10
is also a reasonable approach. Similarly, one could place bounds on the
decay
parameter to take values only between pi/2
and pi/2
.
Choosing Different Fitting Methods¶
By default, the LevenbergMarquardt algorithm is used for fitting. While often criticized, including the fact it finds a local minima, this approach has some distinct advantages. These include being fast, and wellbehaved for most curvefitting needs, and making it easy to estimate uncertainties for and correlations between pairs of fit variables, as discussed in MinimizerResult – the optimization result.
Alternative algorithms can also be used by providing the method
keyword to the minimize()
function or Minimizer.minimize()
class as listed in the Table of Supported Fitting Methods. If you have the numdifftools
package installed, lmfit
will try to estimate the covariance matrix and determine parameter
uncertainties and correlations if calc_covar
is True (default).
Table of Supported Fitting Methods:
Fitting Method
method
arg tominimize()
orMinimizer.minimize()
LevenbergMarquardt
leastsq
orleast_squares
NelderMead
nelder
LBFGSB
lbfgsb
Powell
powell
Conjugate Gradient
cg
NewtonCG
newton
COBYLA
cobyla
BFGS
bfgsb
Truncated Newton
tnc
Newton CG trustregion
trustncg
Exact trustregion
trustexact
Newton GLTR trustregion
trustkrylov
Constrained trustregion
trustconstr
Dogleg
dogleg
Sequential Linear Squares Programming
slsqp
Differential Evolution
differential_evolution
Brute force method
brute
Basinhopping
basinhopping
Adaptive Memory Programming for Global Optimization
ampgo
Simplicial Homology Global Ooptimization
shgo
Dual Annealing
dual_annealing
Maximum likelihood via MonteCarlo Markov Chain
emcee
Note
The objective function for the LevenbergMarquardt method must
return an array, with more elements than variables. All other methods
can return either a scalar value or an array. The MonteCarlo Markov
Chain or emcee
method has two different operating methods when the
objective function returns a scalar value. See the documentation for emcee
.
Warning
Much of this documentation assumes that the LevenbergMarquardt (leastsq
)
method is used. Many of the fit statistics and estimates for uncertainties in
parameters discussed in MinimizerResult – the optimization result are done only unconditionally
for this (and the least_squares
) method. Lmfit versions newer than 0.9.11
provide the capability to use numdifftools
to estimate the covariance matrix
and calculate parameter uncertainties and correlations for other methods as
well.
MinimizerResult
– the optimization result¶
New in version 0.9.0.
An optimization with minimize()
or Minimizer.minimize()
will return a MinimizerResult
object. This is an otherwise
plain container object (that is, with no methods of its own) that
simply holds the results of the minimization. These results will
include several pieces of informational data such as status and error
messages, fit statistics, and the updated parameters themselves.
Importantly, the parameters passed in to Minimizer.minimize()
will be not be changed. To find the bestfit values, uncertainties
and so on for each parameter, one must use the
MinimizerResult.params
attribute. For example, to print the
fitted values, bounds and other parameter attributes in a
wellformatted text tables you can execute:
result.params.pretty_print()
with results
being a MinimizerResult
object. Note that the method
pretty_print()
accepts several arguments
for customizing the output (e.g., column width, numeric format, etcetera).

class
MinimizerResult
(**kws)¶ The results of a minimization.
Minimization results include data such as status and error messages, fit statistics, and the updated (i.e., bestfit) parameters themselves in the
params
attribute.The list of (possible) MinimizerResult attributes is given below:

params
¶ The bestfit parameters resulting from the fit.
 Type

status
¶ Termination status of the optimizer. Its value depends on the underlying solver. Refer to message for details.
 Type

var_names
¶ Ordered list of variable parameter names used in optimization, and useful for understanding the values in
init_vals
andcovar
. Type

ier
¶ Integer error value from scipy.optimize.leastsq (leastsq only).
 Type

lmdif_message
¶ Message from scipy.optimize.leastsq (leastsq only).
 Type

residual
¶ Residual array \({\rm Resid_i}\). Return value of the objective function when using the bestfit values of the parameters.
 Type

bic
¶ Bayesian Information Criterion statistic: \(N \ln(\chi^2/N) + \ln(N) N_{\rm varys}\).
 Type

flatchain
¶ A flatchain view of the sampling chain from the emcee method.
 Type
pandas.DataFrame

show_candidates
()¶ Pretty_print() representation of candidates from the brute method.

GoodnessofFit Statistics¶
Table of Fit Results: These values, including the standard GoodnessofFit statistics, are all attributes of the
MinimizerResult
object returned byminimize()
orMinimizer.minimize()
.
Attribute Name 
Description / Formula 

nfev 
number of function evaluations 
nvarys 
number of variables in fit \(N_{\rm varys}\) 
ndata 
number of data points: \(N\) 
nfree 
degrees of freedom in fit: \(N  N_{\rm varys}\) 
residual 
residual array, returned by the objective function: \(\{\rm Resid_i\}\) 
chisqr 
chisquare: \(\chi^2 = \sum_i^N [{\rm Resid}_i]^2\) 
redchi 
reduced chisquare: \(\chi^2_{\nu}= {\chi^2} / {(N  N_{\rm varys})}\) 
aic 
Akaike Information Criterion statistic (see below) 
bic 
Bayesian Information Criterion statistic (see below) 
var_names 
ordered list of variable parameter names used for init_vals and covar 
covar 
covariance matrix (with rows/columns using var_names) 
init_vals 
list of initial values for variable parameters 
call_kws 
dict of keyword arguments sent to underlying solver 
Note that the calculation of chisquare and reduced chisquare assume that the returned residual function is scaled properly to the uncertainties in the data. For these statistics to be meaningful, the person writing the function to be minimized must scale them properly.
After a fit using the leastsq()
or least_squares()
method has
completed successfully, standard errors for the fitted variables and
correlations between pairs of fitted variables are automatically calculated from
the covariance matrix. For other methods, the calc_covar
parameter (default is
True) in the Minimizer
class determines whether or not to use the
numdifftools
package to estimate the covariance matrix. The standard error
(estimated \(1\sigma\) errorbar) goes into the stderr
attribute of
the Parameter. The correlations with all other variables will be put into the
correl
attribute of the Parameter – a dictionary with keys for all
other Parameters and values of the corresponding correlation.
In some cases, it may not be possible to estimate the errors and
correlations. For example, if a variable actually has no practical effect
on the fit, it will likely cause the covariance matrix to be singular,
making standard errors impossible to estimate. Placing bounds on varied
Parameters makes it more likely that errors cannot be estimated, as being
near the maximum or minimum value makes the covariance matrix singular. In
these cases, the errorbars
attribute of the fit result
(Minimizer
object) will be False
.
Akaike and Bayesian Information Criteria¶
The MinimizerResult
includes the traditional chisquare and reduced chisquare statistics:
where \(r\) is the residual array returned by the objective function
(likely to be (datamodel)/uncertainty
for data modeling usages),
\(N\) is the number of data points (ndata
), and \(N_{\rm
varys}\) is number of variable parameters.
Also included are the Akaike Information Criterion, and
Bayesian Information Criterion statistics,
held in the aic
and bic
attributes, respectively. These give slightly
different measures of the relative quality for a fit, trying to balance
quality of fit with the number of variable parameters used in the fit.
These are calculated as:
When comparing fits with different numbers of varying parameters, one typically selects the model with lowest reduced chisquare, Akaike information criterion, and/or Bayesian information criterion. Generally, the Bayesian information criterion is considered the most conservative of these statistics.
Uncertainties in Variable Parameters, and their Correlations¶
As mentioned above, when a fit is complete the uncertainties for fitted
Parameters as well as the correlations between pairs of Parameters are
usually calculated. This happens automatically either when using the
default leastsq()
method, the least_squares()
method, or for
most other fitting methods if the highlyrecommended numdifftools
package is available. The estimated standard error (the \(1\sigma\)
uncertainty) for each variable Parameter will be contained in the
stderr
, while the correl
attribute for each Parameter will
contain a dictionary of the correlation with each other variable Parameter.
These estimates of the uncertainties are done by inverting the Hessian matrix which represents the second derivative of fit quality for each variable parameter. There are situations for which the uncertainties cannot be estimated, which generally indicates that this matrix cannot be inverted because one of the fit is not actually sensitive to one of the variables. This can happen if a Parameter is stuck at an upper or lower bound, if the variable is simply not used by the fit, or if the value for the variable is such that it has no real influence on the fit.
In principle, the scale of the uncertainties in the Parameters is closely
tied to the goodnessoffit statistics chisquare and reduced chisquare
(chisqr
and redchi
). The standard errors or \(1 \sigma\)
uncertainties are those that increase chisquare by 1. Since a “good fit”
should have redchi
of around 1, this requires that the data
uncertainties (and to some extent the sampling of the N data points) is
correct. Unfortunately, it is often not the case that one has highquality
estimates of the data uncertainties (getting the data is hard enough!).
Because of this common situation, the uncertainties reported and held in
stderr
are not those that increase chisquare by 1, but those that
increase chisquare by reduced chisquare. This is equivalent to rescaling
the uncertainty in the data such that reduced chisquare would be 1. To be
clear, this rescaling is done by default because if reduced chisquare is
far from 1, this rescaling often makes the reported uncertainties sensible,
and if reduced chisquare is near 1 it does little harm. If you have good
scaling of the data uncertainty and believe the scale of the residual
array is correct, this automatic rescaling can be turned off using
scale_covar=False
.
Note that the simple (and fast!) approach to estimating uncertainties and correlations by inverting the second derivative matrix assumes that the components of the residual array (if, indeed, an array is used) are distributed around 0 with a normal (Gaussian distribution), and that a map of probability distributions for pairs would be elliptical – the size of the of ellipse gives the uncertainty itself and the eccentricity of the ellipse gives the correlation. This simple approach to assessing uncertainties ignores outliers, highly asymmetric uncertainties, or complex correlations between Parameters. In fact, it is not too hard to come up with problems where such effects are important. Our experience is that the automated results are usually the right scale and quite reasonable as initial estimates, but a more thorough exploration of the Parameter space using the tools described in Minimizer.emcee()  calculating the posterior probability distribution of parameters and An advanced example for evaluating confidence intervals can give a more complete understanding of the distributions and relations between Parameters.
Getting and Printing Fit Reports¶

fit_report
(inpars, modelpars=None, show_correl=True, min_correl=0.1, sort_pars=False)¶ Generate a report of the fitting results.
The report contains the bestfit values for the parameters and their uncertainties and correlations.
 Parameters
inpars (Parameters) – Input Parameters from fit or MinimizerResult returned from a fit.
modelpars (Parameters, optional) – Known Model Parameters.
show_correl (bool, optional) – Whether to show list of sorted correlations (default is True).
min_correl (float, optional) – Smallest correlation in absolute value to show (default is 0.1).
sort_pars (bool or callable, optional) – Whether to show parameter names sorted in alphanumerical order. If False (default), then the parameters will be listed in the order they were added to the Parameters dictionary. If callable, then this (one argument) function is used to extract a comparison key from each list element.
 Returns
Multiline text of fit report.
 Return type
string
An example using this to write out a fit report would be:
# <examples/doc_fitting_withreport.py>
from numpy import exp, linspace, pi, random, sign, sin
from lmfit import Parameters, fit_report, minimize
p_true = Parameters()
p_true.add('amp', value=14.0)
p_true.add('period', value=5.46)
p_true.add('shift', value=0.123)
p_true.add('decay', value=0.032)
def residual(pars, x, data=None):
"""Model a decaying sine wave and subtract data."""
vals = pars.valuesdict()
amp = vals['amp']
per = vals['period']
shift = vals['shift']
decay = vals['decay']
if abs(shift) > pi/2:
shift = shift  sign(shift)*pi
model = amp * sin(shift + x/per) * exp(x*x*decay*decay)
if data is None:
return model
return model  data
random.seed(0)
x = linspace(0.0, 250., 1001)
noise = random.normal(scale=0.7215, size=x.size)
data = residual(p_true, x) + noise
fit_params = Parameters()
fit_params.add('amp', value=13.0)
fit_params.add('period', value=2)
fit_params.add('shift', value=0.0)
fit_params.add('decay', value=0.02)
out = minimize(residual, fit_params, args=(x,), kws={'data': data})
print(fit_report(out))
# <end examples/doc_fitting_withreport.py>
which would give as output:
[[Fit Statistics]]
# fitting method = leastsq
# function evals = 83
# data points = 1001
# variables = 4
chisquare = 498.811759
reduced chisquare = 0.50031270
Akaike info crit = 689.222517
Bayesian info crit = 669.587497
[[Variables]]
amp: 13.9121945 +/ 0.14120288 (1.01%) (init = 13)
period: 5.48507045 +/ 0.02666492 (0.49%) (init = 2)
shift: 0.16203677 +/ 0.01405661 (8.67%) (init = 0)
decay: 0.03264538 +/ 3.8014e04 (1.16%) (init = 0.02)
[[Correlations]] (unreported correlations are < 0.100)
C(period, shift) = 0.797
C(amp, decay) = 0.582
C(amp, shift) = 0.297
C(amp, period) = 0.243
C(shift, decay) = 0.182
C(period, decay) = 0.150
To be clear, you can get at all of these values from the fit result out
and out.params
. For example, a crude printout of the best fit variables
and standard errors could be done as
print('')
print('Parameter Value Stderr')
for name, param in out.params.items():
print('{:7s} {:11.5f} {:11.5f}'.format(name, param.value, param.stderr))

Parameter Value Stderr
amp 13.91219 0.14120
period 5.48507 0.02666
shift 0.16204 0.01406
decay 0.03265 0.00038
Using a Iteration Callback Function¶
An iteration callback function is a function to be called at each iteration, just after the objective function is called. The iteration callback allows usersupplied code to be run at each iteration, and can be used to abort a fit.

iter_cb(params, iter, resid, *args, **kws):
Usersupplied function to be run at each iteration.
 Parameters
params (
Parameters
) – Parameters.iter (int) – Iteration number.
resid (numpy.ndarray) – Residual array.
args – Positional arguments. Must match
args
argument tominimize()
kws – Keyword arguments. Must match
kws
argument tominimize()
 Returns
Residual array (generally datamodel) to be minimized in the leastsquares sense.
 Return type
None for normal behavior, any value like True to abort the fit.
Normally, the iteration callback would have no return value or return
None
. To abort a fit, have this function return a value that is
True
(including any nonzero integer). The fit will also abort if any
exception is raised in the iteration callback. When a fit is aborted this
way, the parameters will have the values from the last iteration. The fit
statistics are not likely to be meaningful, and uncertainties will not be computed.
Using the Minimizer
class¶
For full control of the fitting process, you will want to create a
Minimizer
object.

class
Minimizer
(userfcn, params, fcn_args=None, fcn_kws=None, iter_cb=None, scale_covar=True, nan_policy='raise', reduce_fcn=None, calc_covar=True, max_nfev=None, **kws)¶ A general minimizer for curve fitting and optimization.
 Parameters
userfcn (callable) –
Objective function that returns the residual (difference between model and data) to be minimized in a leastsquares sense. This function must have the signature:
userfcn(params, *fcn_args, **fcn_kws)
params (
Parameters
) – Contains the Parameters for the model.fcn_args (tuple, optional) – Positional arguments to pass to userfcn.
fcn_kws (dict, optional) – Keyword arguments to pass to userfcn.
max_nfev (int or None, optional) – Maximum number of function evaluations (default is None). The default value depends on the fitting method.
iter_cb (callable, optional) –
Function to be called at each fit iteration. This function should have the signature:
iter_cb(params, iter, resid, *fcn_args, **fcn_kws)
where params will have the current parameter values, iter the iteration number, resid the current residual array, and *fcn_args and **fcn_kws are passed to the objective function.
scale_covar (bool, optional) – Whether to automatically scale the covariance matrix (default is True).
nan_policy (str, optional) –
Specifies action if userfcn (or a Jacobian) returns NaN values. One of:
’raise’ : a ValueError is raised
’propagate’ : the values returned from userfcn are unaltered
’omit’ : nonfinite values are filtered
reduce_fcn (str or callable, optional) –
Function to convert a residual array to a scalar value for the scalar minimizers. Optional values are (where r is the residual array):
None : sum of squares of residual [default]
= (r*r).sum()
’negentropy’ : neg entropy, using normal distribution
= rho*log(rho).sum()`, where rho = exp(r*r/2)/(sqrt(2*pi))
’neglogcauchy’: neg log likelihood, using Cauchy distribution
= log(1/(pi*(1+r*r))).sum()
callable : must take one argument (r) and return a float.
calc_covar (bool, optional) – Whether to calculate the covariance matrix (default is True) for solvers other than leastsq and least_squares. Requires the numdifftools package to be installed.
**kws (dict, optional) – Options to pass to the minimizer being used.
Notes
The objective function should return the value to be minimized. For the LevenbergMarquardt algorithm from
leastsq()
orleast_squares()
, this returned value must be an array, with a length greater than or equal to the number of fitting variables in the model. For the other methods, the return value can either be a scalar or an array. If an array is returned, the sum of squares of the array will be sent to the underlying fitting method, effectively doing a leastsquares optimization of the return values. If the objective function returns nonfinite values then a ValueError will be raised because the underlying solvers cannot deal with them.A common use for the fcn_args and fcn_kws would be to pass in other data needed to calculate the residual, including such things as the data array, dependent variable, uncertainties in the data, and other data structures for the model calculation.
The Minimizer object has a few public methods:

Minimizer.
minimize
(method='leastsq', params=None, **kws)¶ Perform the minimization.
 Parameters
method (str, optional) –
Name of the fitting method to use. Valid values are:
’leastsq’: LevenbergMarquardt (default)
’least_squares’: LeastSquares minimization, using Trust Region Reflective method
’differential_evolution’: differential evolution
’brute’: brute force method
’basinhopping’: basinhopping
’ampgo’: Adaptive Memory Programming for Global Optimization
’nelder’: NelderMead
’lbfgsb’: LBFGSB
’powell’: Powell
’cg’: ConjugateGradient
’newton’: NewtonCG
’cobyla’: Cobyla
’bfgs’: BFGS
’tnc’: Truncated Newton
’trustncg’: NewtonCG trustregion
’trustexact’: nearly exact trustregion
’trustkrylov’: Newton GLTR trustregion
’trustconstr’: trustregion for constrained optimization
’dogleg’: Dogleg trustregion
’slsqp’: Sequential Linear Squares Programming
’emcee’: Maximum likelihood via MonteCarlo Markov Chain
’shgo’: Simplicial Homology Global Optimization
’dual_annealing’: Dual Annealing optimization
In most cases, these methods wrap and use the method with the same name from scipy.optimize, or use scipy.optimize.minimize with the same method argument. Thus ‘leastsq’ will use scipy.optimize.leastsq, while ‘powell’ will use scipy.optimize.minimizer(…, method=’powell’)
For more details on the fitting methods please refer to the SciPy docs.
params (
Parameters
, optional) – Parameters of the model to use as starting values.**kws (optional) – Additional arguments are passed to the underlying minimization method.
 Returns
Object containing the optimized parameter and several goodnessoffit statistics.
 Return type
Changed in version 0.9.0: Return value changed to
MinimizerResult
.

Minimizer.
leastsq
(params=None, max_nfev=None, **kws)¶ Use LevenbergMarquardt minimization to perform a fit.
It assumes that the input Parameters have been initialized, and a function to minimize has been properly set up. When possible, this calculates the estimated uncertainties and variable correlations from the covariance matrix.
This method calls scipy.optimize.leastsq. By default, numerical derivatives are used, and the following arguments are set:
leastsq()
argDefault Value
Description
xtol
1.e7
Relative error in the approximate solution
ftol
1.e7
Relative error in the desired sum of squares
Dfun
None
Function to call for Jacobian calculation
 Parameters
params (
Parameters
, optional) – Parameters to use as starting point.max_nfev (int or None, optional) – Maximum number of function evaluations. Defaults to 2000*(nvars+1), where nvars is the number of variable parameters.
**kws (dict, optional) – Minimizer options to pass to scipy.optimize.leastsq.
 Returns
Object containing the optimized parameter and several goodnessoffit statistics.
 Return type
Changed in version 0.9.0: Return value changed to
MinimizerResult
.

Minimizer.
least_squares
(params=None, max_nfev=None, **kws)¶ Leastsquares minimization using scipy.optimize.least_squares.
This method wraps scipy.optimize.least_squares, which has inbuilt support for bounds and robust loss functions. By default it uses the Trust Region Reflective algorithm with a linear loss function (i.e., the standard leastsquares problem).
 Parameters
params (
Parameters
, optional) – Parameters to use as starting point.max_nfev (int or None, optional) – Maximum number of function evaluations. Defaults to 1000*(nvars+1), where nvars is the number of variable parameters.
**kws (dict, optional) – Minimizer options to pass to scipy.optimize.least_squares.
 Returns
Object containing the optimized parameter and several goodnessoffit statistics.
 Return type
Changed in version 0.9.0: Return value changed to
MinimizerResult
.

Minimizer.
scalar_minimize
(method='NelderMead', params=None, max_nfev=None, **kws)¶ Scalar minimization using scipy.optimize.minimize.
Perform fit with any of the scalar minimization algorithms supported by scipy.optimize.minimize. Default argument values are:
Default Value
Description
method
NelderMead
fitting method
tol
1.e7
fitting and parameter tolerance
hess
None
Hessian of objective function
 Parameters
method (str, optional) –
Name of the fitting method to use. One of:
’NelderMead’ (default)
’LBFGSB’
’Powell’
’CG’
’NewtonCG’
’COBYLA’
’BFGS’
’TNC’
’trustncg’
’trustexact’
’trustkrylov’
’trustconstr’
’dogleg’
’SLSQP’
’differential_evolution’
params (
Parameters
, optional) – Parameters to use as starting point.max_nfev (int or None, optional) – Maximum number of function evaluations. Defaults to 1000*(nvars+1), where nvars is the number of variable parameters.
**kws (dict, optional) – Minimizer options pass to scipy.optimize.minimize.
 Returns
Object containing the optimized parameter and several goodnessoffit statistics.
 Return type
Changed in version 0.9.0: Return value changed to
MinimizerResult
.Notes
If the objective function returns a NumPy array instead of the expected scalar, the sum of squares of the array will be used.
Note that bounds and constraints can be set on Parameters for any of these methods, so are not supported separately for those designed to use bounds. However, if you use the differential_evolution method you must specify finite (min, max) for each varying Parameter.

Minimizer.
prepare_fit
(params=None)¶ Prepare parameters for fitting.
Prepares and initializes model and Parameters for subsequent fitting. This routine prepares the conversion of
Parameters
into fit variables, organizes parameter bounds, and parses, “compiles” and checks constrain expressions. The method also creates and returns a new instance of aMinimizerResult
object that contains the copy of the Parameters that will actually be varied in the fit. Parameters
params (
Parameters
, optional) – Contains the Parameters for the model; if None, then the Parameters used to initialize the Minimizer object are used. Returns
 Return type
Notes
This method is called directly by the fitting methods, and it is generally not necessary to call this function explicitly.
Changed in version 0.9.0: Return value changed to
MinimizerResult
.

Minimizer.
brute
(params=None, Ns=20, keep=50, workers=1)¶ Use the brute method to find the global minimum of a function.
The following parameters are passed to scipy.optimize.brute and cannot be changed:
brute()
argValue
Description
full_output
1
Return the evaluation grid and the objective function’s values on it.
finish
None
No “polishing” function is to be used after the grid search.
disp
False
Do not print convergence messages (when finish is not None).
It assumes that the input Parameters have been initialized, and a function to minimize has been properly set up.
 Parameters
params (
Parameters
, optional) – Contains the Parameters for the model. If None, then the Parameters used to initialize the Minimizer object are used.Ns (int, optional) – Number of grid points along the axes, if not otherwise specified (see Notes).
keep (int, optional) – Number of best candidates from the brute force method that are stored in the
candidates
attribute. If ‘all’, then all grid points from scipy.optimize.brute are stored as candidates.workers (int or maplike callable, optional) – For parallel evaluation of the grid, added in SciPy v1.3 (see scipy.optimize.brute for more details).
 Returns
Object containing the parameters from the brute force method. The return values (x0, fval, grid, Jout) from scipy.optimize.brute are stored as brute_<parname> attributes. The MinimizerResult also contains the candidates attribute and show_candidates() method. The candidates attribute contains the parameters and chisqr from the brute force method as a namedtuple, (‘Candidate’, [‘params’, ‘score’]), sorted on the (lowest) chisqr value. To access the values for a particular candidate one can use result.candidate[#].params or result.candidate[#].score, where a lower # represents a better candidate. The show_candidates(#) uses the
pretty_print()
method to show a specific candidate# or all candidates when no number is specified. Return type
New in version 0.9.6.
Notes
The
brute()
method evaluates the function at each point of a multidimensional grid of points. The grid points are generated from the parameter ranges using Ns and (optional) brute_step. The implementation in scipy.optimize.brute requires finite bounds and the range is specified as a twotuple (min, max) or sliceobject (min, max, brute_step). A sliceobject is used directly, whereas a twotuple is converted to a slice object that interpolates Ns points from min to max, inclusive.In addition, the
brute()
method in lmfit, handles three other scenarios given below with their respective sliceobject: lower bound (
min
) andbrute_step
are specified: range = (min, min + Ns * brute_step, brute_step).
 lower bound (
 upper bound (
max
) andbrute_step
are specified: range = (max  Ns * brute_step, max, brute_step).
 upper bound (
 numerical value (
value
) andbrute_step
are specified: range = (value  (Ns//2) * brute_step, value + (Ns//2) * brute_step, brute_step).
 numerical value (
For more information, check the examples in examples/lmfit_brute_example.ipynb
.

Minimizer.
basinhopping
(params=None, **kws)¶ Use the basinhopping algorithm to find the global minimum of a function.
This method calls scipy.optimize.basinhopping using the default arguments. The default minimizer is BFGS, but since lmfit supports parameter bounds for all minimizers, the user can choose any of the solvers present in scipy.optimize.minimize.
 Parameters
params (
Parameters
object, optional) – Contains the Parameters for the model. If None, then the Parameters used to initialize the Minimizer object are used. Returns
Object containing the optimization results from the basinhopping algorithm.
 Return type
New in version 0.9.10.

Minimizer.
ampgo
(params=None, max_nfev=None, **kws)¶ Find the global minimum of a multivariate function using AMPGO.
AMPGO stands for ‘Adaptive Memory Programming for Global Optimization’ and is an efficient algorithm to find the global minimum.
 Parameters
params (
Parameters
, optional) – Contains the Parameters for the model. If None, then the Parameters used to initialize the Minimizer object are used.**kws (dict, optional) –
Minimizer options to pass to the ampgo algorithm, the options are listed below:
local: str (default is 'LBFGSB') Name of the local minimization method. Valid options are:  'LBFGSB'  'NelderMead'  'Powell'  'TNC'  'SLSQP' local_opts: dict (default is None) Options to pass to the local minimizer. maxfunevals: int (default is None) Maximum number of function evaluations. If None, the optimization will stop after `totaliter` number of iterations. (deprecated: use `max_nfev`) max_nfev: int (default is None) Maximum number of total function evaluations. If None, the optimization will stop after `totaliter` number of iterations. totaliter: int (default is 20) Maximum number of global iterations. maxiter: int (default is 5) Maximum number of `Tabu Tunneling` iterations during each global iteration. glbtol: float (default is 1e5) Tolerance whether or not to accept a solution after a tunneling phase. eps1: float (default is 0.02) Constant used to define an aspiration value for the objective function during the Tunneling phase. eps2: float (default is 0.1) Perturbation factor used to move away from the latest local minimum at the start of a Tunneling phase. tabulistsize: int (default is 5) Size of the (circular) tabu search list. tabustrategy: str (default is 'farthest') Strategy to use when the size of the tabu list exceeds `tabulistsize`. It can be 'oldest' to drop the oldest point from the tabu list or 'farthest' to drop the element farthest from the last local minimum found. disp: bool (default is False) Set to True to print convergence messages.
 Returns
Object containing the parameters from the ampgo method, with fit parameters, statistics and such. The return values (x0, fval, eval, msg, tunnel) are stored as ampgo_<parname> attributes.
 Return type
New in version 0.9.10.
Notes
The Python implementation was written by Andrea Gavana in 2014 (http://infinity77.net/global_optimization/index.html).
The details of the AMPGO algorithm are described in the paper “Adaptive Memory Programming for Constrained Global Optimization” located here:

Minimizer.
shgo
(params=None, max_nfev=None, **kws)¶ Use the SHGO algorithm to find the global minimum.
SHGO stands for “simplicial homology global optimization” and calls scipy.optimize.shgo using its default arguments.
 Parameters
params (
Parameters
, optional) – Contains the Parameters for the model. If None, then the Parameters used to initialize the Minimizer object are used.max_nfev (int or None, optional) – Maximum number of function evaluations. Defaults to 1e6*(result.nvarys+1), where nvars is the number of variable parameters.
**kws (dict, optional) – Minimizer options to pass to the SHGO algorithm.
 Returns
Object containing the parameters from the SHGO method. The return values specific to scipy.optimize.shgo (x, xl, fun, funl, nfev, nit, nlfev, nlhev, and nljev) are stored as shgo_<parname> attributes.
 Return type
New in version 0.9.14.

Minimizer.
dual_annealing
(params=None, max_nfev=None, **kws)¶ Use the dual_annealing algorithm to find the global minimum.
This method calls scipy.optimize.dual_annealing using its default arguments.
 Parameters
params (
Parameters
, optional) – Contains the Parameters for the model. If None, then the Parameters used to initialize the Minimizer object are used.max_nfev (int or None, optional) – Maximum number of function evaluations. Defaults to 1e7.
**kws (dict, optional) – Minimizer options to pass to the dual_annealing algorithm.
 Returns
Object containing the parameters from the dual_annealing method. The return values specific to scipy.optimize.dual_annealing (x, fun, nfev, nhev, njev, and nit) are stored as da_<parname> attributes.
 Return type
New in version 0.9.14.

Minimizer.
emcee
(params=None, steps=1000, nwalkers=100, burn=0, thin=1, ntemps=1, pos=None, reuse_sampler=False, workers=1, float_behavior='posterior', is_weighted=True, seed=None, progress=True)¶ Bayesian sampling of the posterior distribution using the emcee Markov Chain Monte Carlo package.
The method assumes that the prior is Uniform. You need to have emcee version 3 installed to use this method.
 Parameters
params (
Parameters
, optional) – Parameters to use as starting point. If this is not specified then the Parameters used to initialize the Minimizer object are used.steps (int, optional) – How many samples you would like to draw from the posterior distribution for each of the walkers?
nwalkers (int, optional) – Should be set so \(nwalkers >> nvarys\), where nvarys are the number of parameters being varied during the fit. ‘Walkers are the members of the ensemble. They are almost like separate MetropolisHastings chains but, of course, the proposal distribution for a given walker depends on the positions of all the other walkers in the ensemble.’  from the emcee webpage.
burn (int, optional) – Discard this many samples from the start of the sampling regime.
thin (int, optional) – Only accept 1 in every thin samples.
ntemps (int, deprecated) – ntemps has no effect.
pos (numpy.ndarray, optional) – Specify the initial positions for the sampler, an ndarray of shape (nwalkers, nvarys). You can also initialise using a previous chain of the same nwalkers and nvarys. Note that nvarys may be one larger than you expect it to be if your userfcn returns an array and is_weighted is False.
reuse_sampler (bool, optional) – Set to True if you have already run emcee with the Minimizer instance and want to continue to draw from its
sampler
(and so retain the chain history). If False, a new sampler is created. The keywords nwalkers, pos, and params will be ignored when this is set, as they will be set by the existing sampler. Important: the Parameters used to create the sampler must not change inbetween calls to emcee. Alteration of Parameters would include changedmin
,max
,vary
andexpr
attributes. This may happen, for example, if you use an altered Parameters object and call the minimize method inbetween calls to emcee.workers (Poollike or int, optional) – For parallelization of sampling. It can be any Poollike object with a map method that follows the same calling sequence as the builtin map function. If int is given as the argument, then a multiprocessingbased pool is spawned internally with the corresponding number of parallel processes. ‘mpi4py’based parallelization and ‘joblib’based parallelization pools can also be used here. Note: because of multiprocessing overhead it may only be worth parallelising if the objective function is expensive to calculate, or if there are a large number of objective evaluations per step (nwalkers * nvarys).
float_behavior (str, optional) – Meaning of float (scalar) output of objective function. Use ‘posterior’ if it returns a logposterior probability or ‘chi2’ if it returns \(\chi^2\). See Notes for further details.
is_weighted (bool, optional) – Has your objective function been weighted by measurement uncertainties? If is_weighted is True then your objective function is assumed to return residuals that have been divided by the true measurement uncertainty (data  model) / sigma. If is_weighted is False then the objective function is assumed to return unweighted residuals, data  model. In this case emcee will employ a positive measurement uncertainty during the sampling. This measurement uncertainty will be present in the output params and output chain with the name __lnsigma. A side effect of this is that you cannot use this parameter name yourself. Important this parameter only has any effect if your objective function returns an array. If your objective function returns a float, then this parameter is ignored. See Notes for more details.
seed (int or numpy.random.RandomState, optional) – If seed is an int, a new numpy.random.RandomState instance is used, seeded with seed. If seed is already a numpy.random.RandomState instance, then that numpy.random.RandomState instance is used. Specify seed for repeatable minimizations.
progress (bool, optional) – Print a progress bar to the console while running.
 Returns
MinimizerResult object containing updated params, statistics, etc. The updated params represent the median of the samples, while the uncertainties are half the difference of the 15.87 and 84.13 percentiles. The MinimizerResult contains a few additional attributes:
chain
contain the samples and has shape ((steps  burn) // thin, nwalkers, nvarys).flatchain
is a pandas.DataFrame of the flattened chain, that can be accessed with result.flatchain[parname].lnprob
contains the log probability for each sample inchain
. The sample with the highest probability corresponds to the maximum likelihood estimate.acor
is an array containing the autocorrelation time for each parameter if the autocorrelation time can be computed from the chain. Finally,acceptance_fraction
(an array of the fraction of steps accepted for each walker). Return type
Notes
This method samples the posterior distribution of the parameters using Markov Chain Monte Carlo. It calculates the logposterior probability of the model parameters, F, given the data, D, \(\ln p(F_{true}  D)\). This ‘posterior probability’ is given by:
\[\ln p(F_{true}  D) \propto \ln p(D  F_{true}) + \ln p(F_{true})\]where \(\ln p(D  F_{true})\) is the ‘loglikelihood’ and \(\ln p(F_{true})\) is the ‘logprior’. The default logprior encodes prior information known about the model that the logprior probability is numpy.inf (impossible) if any of the parameters is outside its limits, and is zero if all the parameters are inside their bounds (uniform prior). The loglikelihood function is 1:
\[\ln p(DF_{true}) = \frac{1}{2}\sum_n \left[\frac{(g_n(F_{true})  D_n)^2}{s_n^2}+\ln (2\pi s_n^2)\right]\]The first term represents the residual (\(g\) being the generative model, \(D_n\) the data and \(s_n\) the measurement uncertainty). This gives \(\chi^2\) when summed over all data points. The objective function may also return the logposterior probability, \(\ln p(F_{true}  D)\). Since the default logprior term is zero, the objective function can also just return the loglikelihood, unless you wish to create a nonuniform prior.
If the objective function returns a float value, this is assumed by default to be the logposterior probability, (float_behavior default is ‘posterior’. If your objective function returns \(\chi^2\), then you should use a value of float_behavior=’chi2’.
By default objective functions may return an ndarray of (possibly weighted) residuals. In this case, use is_weighted to select whether these are correctly weighted by measurement uncertainty. Note that this ignores the second term above, so that to calculate a correct logposterior probability value your objective function should return a float value. With is_weighted=False the data uncertainty, s_n, will be treated as a nuisance parameter to be marginalized out. This uses strictly positive uncertainty (homoscedasticity) for each data point, \(s_n = \exp(\rm{\_\_lnsigma})\). __lnsigma will be present in MinimizerResult.params, as well as Minimizer.chain and nvarys will be increased by one.
References
Minimizer.emcee()
 calculating the posterior probability distribution of parameters¶
Minimizer.emcee()
can be used to obtain the posterior probability
distribution of parameters, given a set of experimental data. Note that this
method does not actually perform a fit at all. Instead, it explores
parameter space to determine the probability distributions for the parameters,
but without an explicit goal of attempting to refine the solution. It should
not be used for fitting, but it is a useful method to to more thoroughly
explore the parameter space around the solution after a fit has been done and
thereby get an improved understanding of the probability distribution for the
parameters. It may be able to refine your estimate of the most likely values
for a set of parameters, but it will not iteratively find a good solution to
the minimization problem. To use this method effectively, you should first
use another minimization method and then use this method to explore the
parameter space around thosee bestfit values.
To illustrate this, we’ll use an example problem of fitting data to function of a double exponential decay, including a modest amount of Gaussian noise to the data. Note that this example is the same problem used in An advanced example for evaluating confidence intervals for evaluating confidence intervals in the parameters, which is a similar goal to the one here.
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import numpy as np
import lmfit
x = np.linspace(1, 10, 250)
np.random.seed(0)
y = 3.0 * np.exp(x / 2)  5.0 * np.exp((x  0.1) / 10.) + 0.1 * np.random.randn(x.size)
plt.plot(x, y, 'b')
plt.show()
Create a Parameter set for the initial guesses:
p = lmfit.Parameters()
p.add_many(('a1', 4.), ('a2', 4.), ('t1', 3.), ('t2', 3., True))
def residual(p):
v = p.valuesdict()
return v['a1'] * np.exp(x / v['t1']) + v['a2'] * np.exp((x  0.1) / v['t2'])  y
Solving with minimize()
gives the Maximum Likelihood solution. Note
that we use the robust NelderMead method here. The default LevenbergMarquardt
method seems to have difficulty with exponential decays, though it can refine
the solution if starting near the solution:
mi = lmfit.minimize(residual, p, method='nelder', nan_policy='omit')
lmfit.printfuncs.report_fit(mi.params, min_correl=0.5)
[[Variables]]
a1: 2.98623689 +/ 0.15010519 (5.03%) (init = 4)
a2: 4.33525597 +/ 0.11765824 (2.71%) (init = 4)
t1: 1.30993186 +/ 0.13449656 (10.27%) (init = 3)
t2: 11.8238752 +/ 0.47172610 (3.99%) (init = 3)
[[Correlations]] (unreported correlations are < 0.500)
C(a2, t2) = 0.988
C(a2, t1) = 0.928
C(t1, t2) = 0.885
C(a1, t1) = 0.609
and plotting the fit using the Maximum Likelihood solution gives the graph below:
plt.plot(x, y, 'b')
plt.plot(x, residual(mi.params) + y, 'r', label='best fit')
plt.legend(loc='best')
plt.show()
Note that the fit here (for which the numdifftools
package is installed)
does estimate and report uncertainties in the parameters and correlations for
the parameters, and reports the correlation of parameters a2
and t2
to
be very high. As we’ll see, these estimates are pretty good, but when faced
with such high correlation, it can be helpful to get the full probability
distribution for the parameters. MCMC methods are very good for this.
Furthermore, we wish to deal with the data uncertainty. This is called
marginalisation of a nuisance parameter. emcee
requires a function that
returns the logposterior probability. The logposterior probability is a sum
of the logprior probability and loglikelihood functions. The logprior
probability is assumed to be zero if all the parameters are within their
bounds and np.inf
if any of the parameters are outside their bounds.
If the objective function returns an array of unweighted residuals (i.e.,
datamodel
) as is the case here, you can use is_weighted=False
as an
argument for emcee
. In that case, emcee
will automatically add/use the
__lnsigma
parameter to estimate the true uncertainty in the data. To
place boundaries on this parameter one can do:
mi.params.add('__lnsigma', value=np.log(0.1), min=np.log(0.001), max=np.log(2))
Now we have to set up the minimizer and do the sampling (again, just to be clear, this is not doing a fit):
res = lmfit.minimize(residual, method='emcee', nan_policy='omit', burn=300, steps=1000, thin=20,
params=mi.params, is_weighted=False, progress=False)
As mentioned in the Notes for Minimizer.emcee()
, the is_weighted
argument will be ignored if your objective function returns a float instead of
an array. For the documentation we set progress=False
; the default is to
print a progress bar to the Terminal if the tqdm
package is installed.
The success of the method (i.e., whether or not the sampling went well) can be assessed by checking the integrated autocorrelation time and/or the acceptance fraction of the walkers. For this specific example the autocorrelation time could not be estimated because the “chain is too short”. Instead, we plot the acceptance fraction per walker and its mean value suggests that the sampling worked as intended (as a rule of thumb the value should be between 0.2 and 0.5).
plt.plot(res.acceptance_fraction)
plt.xlabel('walker')
plt.ylabel('acceptance fraction')
plt.show()
With the results from emcee
, we can visualize the posterior distributions
for the parameters using the corner
package:
import corner
emcee_plot = corner.corner(res.flatchain, labels=res.var_names,
truths=list(res.params.valuesdict().values()))
The values reported in the MinimizerResult
are the medians of the
probability distributions and a 1 \(\sigma\) quantile, estimated as half
the difference between the 15.8 and 84.2 percentiles. Printing these values:
print('median of posterior probability distribution')
print('')
lmfit.report_fit(res.params)
median of posterior probability distribution

[[Variables]]
a1: 2.99635243 +/ 0.15120055 (5.05%) (init = 2.986237)
a2: 4.34051531 +/ 0.12100150 (2.79%) (init = 4.335256)
t1: 1.32328984 +/ 0.13821025 (10.44%) (init = 1.309932)
t2: 11.8019963 +/ 0.47549352 (4.03%) (init = 11.82388)
__lnsigma: 2.32752129 +/ 0.04400234 (1.89%) (init = 2.302585)
[[Correlations]] (unreported correlations are < 0.100)
C(a2, t2) = 0.981
C(a2, t1) = 0.931
C(t1, t2) = 0.888
C(a1, t1) = 0.493
C(a1, a2) = 0.175
C(a1, t2) = 0.140
You can see that this recovered the right uncertainty level on the data. Note
that these values agree pretty well with the results, uncertainties and
correlations found by the fit and using numdifftools
to estimate the
covariance matrix. That is, even though the parameters a2
, t1
, and
t2
are all highly correlated and do not display perfectly Gaussian
probability distributions, the probability distributions found by explicitly
sampling the parameter space are not so far from elliptical as to make the
simple (and much faster) estimates from inverting the covariance matrix
completely invalid.
As mentioned above, the result from emcee
reports the median values, which
are not necessarily the same as the Maximum Likelihood Estimate. To obtain
the values for the Maximum Likelihood Estimation (MLE) we find the location in
the chain with the highest probability:
highest_prob = np.argmax(res.lnprob)
hp_loc = np.unravel_index(highest_prob, res.lnprob.shape)
mle_soln = res.chain[hp_loc]
for i, par in enumerate(p):
p[par].value = mle_soln[i]
print('\nMaximum Likelihood Estimation from emcee ')
print('')
print('Parameter MLE Value Median Value Uncertainty')
fmt = ' {:5s} {:11.5f} {:11.5f} {:11.5f}'.format
for name, param in p.items():
print(fmt(name, param.value, res.params[name].value,
res.params[name].stderr))
Maximum Likelihood Estimation from emcee

Parameter MLE Value Median Value Uncertainty
a1 3.01605 2.99635 0.15120
a2 4.33859 4.34052 0.12100
t1 1.30511 1.32329 0.13821
t2 11.81635 11.80200 0.47549
Here the difference between MLE and median value are seen to be below 0.5%, and well within the estimated 1\(\sigma\) uncertainty.
Finally, we can use the samples from emcee
to work out the 1 and
2\(\sigma\) error estimates.
print('\nError Estimates from emcee ')
print('')
print('Parameter 2sigma 1sigma median +1sigma +2sigma ')
for name in p.keys():
quantiles = np.percentile(res.flatchain[name],
[2.275, 15.865, 50, 84.135, 97.275])
median = quantiles[2]
err_m2 = quantiles[0]  median
err_m1 = quantiles[1]  median
err_p1 = quantiles[3]  median
err_p2 = quantiles[4]  median
fmt = ' {:5s} {:8.4f} {:8.4f} {:8.4f} {:8.4f} {:8.4f}'.format
print(fmt(name, err_m2, err_m1, median, err_p1, err_p2))
Error Estimates from emcee

Parameter 2sigma 1sigma median +1sigma +2sigma
a1 0.2695 0.1436 2.9964 0.1589 0.3313
a2 0.3339 0.1408 4.3405 0.1014 0.1893
t1 0.2410 0.1287 1.3233 0.1478 0.3319
t2 1.0962 0.5133 11.8020 0.4379 0.8778
And we see that the initial estimates for the 1\(\sigma\) standard error
using numdifftools
was not too bad. We’ll return to this example
problem in An advanced example for evaluating confidence intervals and use a different method to
calculate the 1 and 2\(\sigma\) error bars.