# Fitting a curve to the edge of a distribution

I need to be able to find outliers in my data. I thought it best to test for this using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test.

I have over 800,000 points so I wanted a way to filter the data first to only test those that are on the edge of my sample. By eye I can fit an exponential decay (red line) but I was wondering if there was a statistical way to determine the parameters for my exponential. • You will find it illuminating to plot these bivariate data on log-log axes. (To include the zero values you will need to add a small constant to all values first.) Among other things, you will find that the exponential decay is not quite right; the relationship may be better approximated with a power law.
– whuber
Dec 16, 2011 at 15:14
• +1 whuber. @xboxrob: Aren't you, by fitting a curve, already making assumptions about what might be an outlier? I'm not sure. Dec 16, 2011 at 16:12
• Might help if you say why you need to find outliers. By eye, I wouldn't say there are any particularly severe outliers, considering the size of the data set. The only obvious anomaly is the little line of values with y=0 for x=1,2,3,4.. with a gap just above it. Dec 16, 2011 at 16:21
• xboxrob, it is unclear what you are asking for, and consequently the replies you are getting may or may not be applicable; at any rate, future readers will not be able to gauge whether they are appropriate solutions. The K-S test does not seem applicable--you display bivariate data and it's for univariate data only--and finding outliers does not seem related to your red curve. What exactly do you want to accomplish?
– whuber
Dec 19, 2011 at 2:05
• On the contrary, I noted these are bivariate data, as your description confirms. It is really strange that the variance of the measurements would increase as the measurements themselves decrease. This suggests that both $x$ and $y$ are actually differences relative to a large value (perhaps around $100$ or so). It would be more productive and informative to work with the original $(x,y)$ data.
– whuber
Jan 18, 2012 at 0:45

Perhabs nonlinear Quantile Regression?

My suggestion is to look for "extreme value" theory and distributions.

If you are using R do the following:

install.packages("texmex", dep=T)

then type following in the

help(package=texmex)

A