Perpendicular offset least square fitting has a lot of advantages compared to the native least square fitting scheme. The following figure illustrates the difference between there, and for a more detailed comparison of these two methods, we refer to here.

enter image description here

Perpendicular offset least square fitting, however, is not robust to outliers( points that are not supposed to be used for model estimation). Therefore, I am now considering to use a weighted perpendicular offset least square regression method. The method has two steps:

  1. Calculate the weighting factor for each points that are going to be used for line estimation;
  2. Perform perpendicular offset in a weighted least square regression scheme.

For the time being, my biggest problem comes from step 2. Suppose the weighting factors are given, how can I get the formula to estimate the parameters of the line? Many thanks!


Based on the kind suggestion of @MvG I have implemented the algorithm in MATLAB:

function  line =  estimate_line_ver_weighted(pt_x, pt_y,w);
% pt_x  x coordinate
% pt_y  y coordinate
% w     weighting factor

pt_x = pt_x(:);
pt_y = pt_y(:);
w    = w(:);

% step 1: calculate n
n = sum(w(:));

% step 2: calculate weighted coordinates 
y_square = pt_y(:).*pt_y(:);
x_square = pt_x(:).*pt_x(:);
x_square_weighted = x_square.*w;  
y_square_weighted = y_square.*w;  
x_weighted        = pt_x.*w;
y_weighted        = pt_y.*w;

% step 3: calculate the formula
B_upleft = sum(y_square_weighted)-sum(y_weighted).^2/n;
B_upright = sum(x_square_weighted)-sum(x_weighted).^2/n;
B_down = sum(x_weighted(:))*sum(y_weighted(:))/n-sum(x_weighted.*pt_y);
B = 0.5*(B_upleft-B_upright)/B_down;

% step 4: calculate b
if B<0
    b       = -B+sqrt(B.^2+1);
    b       = -B-sqrt(B.^2+1);

% Step 5: calculate a
a = (sum(y_weighted)-b*sum(x_weighted))/n;

% Step 6: the model is y = a + bx, and now we transform the model to 
% a*x + b*y + c = 0;
c_ = a;
a_ = b;
b_ = -1;

line = [a_ b_ c_];

The result is as good as we can expect, which is illustrated in the following script:

%% Procedure 1: given the data
pt_x = [   692   692   693   692   693   693   750];
pt_y = [ 919         971        1022        1074        1126        1230        1289];

% Procedure 2: draw the point 
 close all; figure; plot(pt_x,pt_y,'b*');

% Procedure 3: estimate the line based on the weighted vertical offset
% least square method.
 weighting = ones(length(pt_x),1);
 weighting(end) = 0.01;  % we give the last point a low weighting because obvously it is an outlier
 myline =    estimate_line_ver_weighted(pt_x,pt_y,weighting); 
 a = myline(1); b = myline(2); c= myline(3);

 % Procedure 4: draw the line
 x_range = [min(pt_x):0.1:max(pt_x)];
 y_range = [min(pt_y):0.1:max(pt_y)];
 if length(x_range)>length(y_range)
        x_range_corrspond = -(a*x_range+c)/b;
        hold on; plot(x_range,x_range_corrspond,'r');
        y_range_correspond = -(b*y_range+c)/a;
        hold on; plot(y_range_correspond,y_range,'r');

The following figure corresponds to the above script: enter image description here.

  • $\begingroup$ What is your question? The formulas are given in your link. Are you just looking for some help in setting up the least-squares matrices? $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Oct 15 '12 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ @CarlWitthoft Thanks for your comments. In the link, there is a formula for the least square regression method but not weighted least square regression method. $\endgroup$ – feelfree Oct 15 '12 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ This paper might be of interest. As is stands this question seems to be off-topic at Stack Overflow and might be better suited for Cross Validated. $\endgroup$ – Roland Oct 15 '12 at 13:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Roland Thanks, I will combine them together later. I am just not sure where I can get help. $\endgroup$ – feelfree Oct 15 '12 at 13:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I have tried your solution, but it seems that it did not work. I posted the Matlab codes here and was wondering whether I have done something wrong. $\endgroup$ – feelfree Oct 15 '12 at 14:35

Completely revised answer, see history.

Take the formula from your link. It contains a lot of sums iterating over your input points. Make sure to multiply the summands in all of these sums with your weights $w$:

\begin{align*} \sum_{i=1}^n x_i &\to \sum_{i=1}^n w_ix_i \\ \sum_{i=1}^n y_i &\to \sum_{i=1}^n w_iy_i \\ \sum_{i=1}^n x_i^2 &\to \sum_{i=1}^n w_ix_i^2 \\ \sum_{i=1}^n x_iy_i &\to \sum_{i=1}^n w_ix_iy_i \\ \sum_{i=1}^n y_i^2 &\to \sum_{i=1}^n w_iy_i^2 \\ n = \sum_{i=1}^n 1 &\to \sum_{i=1}^n w_i \end{align*}

Notice that I previously suggested weighting the coordinates, but that causes one $w$ too many for the second-order terms. To simulate the effect of $w$ denoting the multiplicity of points (i.e. $w_i=3$ should have the same effect as point $i$ repeated $3$ times), you have to have exactly one $w$ for every sum iterating over your set of points. Your code still has one $w$ too many in the sum(x_weighted.*y_weighted) term of B_down.

With this solution, and using exact arithmetic on algebraic numbers to avoid numeric issues, one of the two solutions of the quadratic equation gives a pretty good result on the example data you provided. Seeing as $B$ is only around $22$ with the correct computation, numeric issues shouldn't be to serious a problem, contrary to my previous experiences with the incorrect weighting. I still don't know which solution will be the correct one in general, whether you can always choose the one with the positive square root, or whether you have to examine the sign of the second derivative.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your detailed explanation. Sorry I made a mistake in the code % step 4: calculate b if B<0 b = -B+sqrt(B.^2+1); else b = -B-sqrt(B.^2+1); end $\endgroup$ – feelfree Oct 16 '12 at 7:49
  • $\begingroup$ @feelfree, I believe I fixed my answer. Please give that a try; it does work for me. $\endgroup$ – MvG Oct 16 '12 at 12:20
  • $\begingroup$ If I have an assumption that the estimated line is nearly vertical, then selection of b in step 4 is very easy as its absolute value must be large. $\endgroup$ – feelfree Oct 17 '12 at 12:38

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