# 4.9: Fitting Exponential Models to Data

- Page ID
- 114022

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In this section, you will:

- Build an exponential model from data.
- Build a logarithmic model from data.
- Build a logistic model from data.

In previous sections of this chapter, we were either given a function explicitly to graph or evaluate, or we were given a set of points that were guaranteed to lie on the curve. Then we used algebra to find the equation that fit the points exactly. In this section, we use a modeling technique called *regression analysis* to find a curve that models data collected from real-world observations. With regression analysis, we don’t expect all the points to lie perfectly on the curve. The idea is to find a model that best fits the data. Then we use the model to make predictions about future events.

Do not be confused by the word *model*. In mathematics, we often use the terms *function*, *equation*, and *model* interchangeably, even though they each have their own formal definition. The term *model* is typically used to indicate that the equation or function approximates a real-world situation.

We will concentrate on three types of regression models in this section: exponential, logarithmic, and logistic. Having already worked with each of these functions gives us an advantage. Knowing their formal definitions, the behavior of their graphs, and some of their real-world applications gives us the opportunity to deepen our understanding. As each regression model is presented, key features and definitions of its associated function are included for review. Take a moment to rethink each of these functions, reflect on the work we’ve done so far, and then explore the ways regression is used to model real-world phenomena.

### Building an Exponential Model from Data

As we’ve learned, there are a multitude of situations that can be modeled by exponential functions, such as investment growth, radioactive decay, atmospheric pressure changes, and temperatures of a cooling object. What do these phenomena have in common? For one thing, all the models either increase or decrease as time moves forward. But that’s not the whole story. It’s the *way* data increase or decrease that helps us determine whether it is best modeled by an exponential equation. Knowing the behavior of exponential functions in general allows us to recognize when to use exponential regression, so let’s review exponential growth and decay.

Recall that exponential functions have the form $y=a{b}^{x}$ or $y={A}_{0}{e}^{kx}.$ When performing regression analysis, we use the form most commonly used on graphing utilities, $y=a{b}^{x}.$ Take a moment to reflect on the characteristics we’ve already learned about the exponential function $y=a{b}^{x}$ (assume $a>0):$

- $b$ must be greater than zero and not equal to one.
- The initial value of the model is $y=a.$
- If $b>1,$ the function models exponential growth. As $x$ increases, the outputs of the model increase slowly at first, but then increase more and more rapidly, without bound.
- If $0<b<1,$ the function models exponential decay. As $x$ increases, the outputs for the model decrease rapidly at first and then level off to become asymptotic to the
*x*-axis. In other words, the outputs never become equal to or less than zero.

As part of the results, your calculator will display a number known as the *correlation coefficient*, labeled by the variable $r,$ or $\phantom{\rule{0.8}{0ex}}\text{\hspace{0.17em}}{r}^{2}.$ (You may have to change the calculator’s settings for these to be shown.) The values are an indication of the “goodness of fit” of the regression equation to the data. We more commonly use the value of ${r}^{2}$ instead of $r,$ but the closer either value is to 1, the better the regression equation approximates the data.

### Exponential Regression

*Exponential regression* is used to model situations in which growth begins slowly and then accelerates rapidly without bound, or where decay begins rapidly and then slows down to get closer and closer to zero. We use the command “**ExpReg**” on a graphing utility to fit an exponential function to a set of data points. This returns an equation of the form, $$y=a{b}^{x}$$

Note that:

- $b$ must be non-negative.
- when $b>1,$ we have an exponential growth model.
- when $0<b<1,$ we have an exponential decay model.

### How To

**Given a set of data, perform exponential regression using a graphing utility.**

- Use the
**STAT**then**EDIT**menu to enter given data.- Clear any existing data from the lists.
- List the input values in the L1 column.
- List the output values in the L2 column.

- Graph and observe a scatter plot of the data using the
**STATPLOT**feature.- Use
**ZOOM**[**9**] to adjust axes to fit the data. - Verify the data follow an exponential pattern.

- Use
- Find the equation that models the data.
- Select “
**ExpReg**” from the**STAT**then**CALC**menu. - Use the values returned for
*a*and*b*to record the model, $y=a{b}^{x}.$

- Select “
- Graph the model in the same window as the scatterplot to verify it is a good fit for the data.

### Example 1

#### Using Exponential Regression to Fit a Model to Data

In 2007, a university study was published investigating the crash risk of alcohol impaired driving. Data from 2,871 crashes were used to measure the association of a person’s blood alcohol level (BAC) with the risk of being in an accident. Table 1 shows results from the study ^{9}. The *relative risk* is a measure of how many times more likely a person is to crash. So, for example, a person with a BAC of 0.09 is 3.54 times as likely to crash as a person who has not been drinking alcohol.

BAC |
0 | 0.01 | 0.03 | 0.05 | 0.07 | 0.09 |

Relative Risk of Crashing |
1 | 1.03 | 1.06 | 1.38 | 2.09 | 3.54 |

BAC |
0.11 | 0.13 | 0.15 | 0.17 | 0.19 | 0.21 |

Relative Risk of Crashing |
6.41 | 12.6 | 22.1 | 39.05 | 65.32 | 99.78 |

**Answer**- Using the
**STAT**then**EDIT**menu on a graphing utility, list the**BAC**values in L1 and the relative risk values in L2. Then use the**STATPLOT**feature to verify that the scatterplot follows the exponential pattern shown in Figure 1:Use the “

**ExpReg**” command from the**STAT**then**CALC**menu to obtain the exponential model,$$y=0.58304829{\left(2.20720213\text{E}10\right)}^{x}$$

Converting from scientific notation, we have:

$$y=0.58304829{\left(\text{22,072,021,300}\right)}^{x}$$

Notice that ${r}^{2}\approx 0.97$ which indicates the model is a good fit to the data. To see this, graph the model in the same window as the scatterplot to verify it is a good fit as shown in Figure 2:

- Use the model to estimate the risk associated with a BAC of $\mathrm{0.16.}$ Substitute $0.16$ for $x$ in the model and solve for $y.$
If a 160-pound person drives after having 6 drinks, he or she is about 26.35 times more likely to crash than if driving while sober.

- Using the

### Try It #1

Table 2 shows a recent graduate’s credit card balance each month after graduation.

Month |
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |

Debt ($) |
620.00 | 761.88 | 899.80 | 1039.93 | 1270.63 | 1589.04 | 1851.31 | 2154.92 |

### Q&A

**Is it reasonable to assume that an exponential regression model will represent a situation indefinitely?**

*No. Remember that models are formed by real-world data gathered for regression. It is usually reasonable to make estimates within the interval of original observation (interpolation). However, when a model is used to make predictions, it is important to use reasoning skills to determine whether the model makes sense for inputs far beyond the original observation interval (extrapolation).*

### Building a Logarithmic Model from Data

Just as with exponential functions, there are many real-world applications for logarithmic functions: intensity of sound, pH levels of solutions, yields of chemical reactions, production of goods, and growth of infants. As with exponential models, data modeled by logarithmic functions are either always increasing or always decreasing as time moves forward. Again, it is the *way* they increase or decrease that helps us determine whether a logarithmic model is best.

Recall that logarithmic functions increase or decrease rapidly at first, but then steadily slow as time moves on. By reflecting on the characteristics we’ve already learned about this function, we can better analyze real world situations that reflect this type of growth or decay. When performing logarithmic regression analysis, we use the form of the logarithmic function most commonly used on graphing utilities, $y=a+b\mathrm{ln}\left(x\right).$ For this function

- All input values, $x,$ must be greater than zero.
- The point $\left(1,a\right)$ is on the graph of the model.
- If $b>0,$ the model is increasing. Growth increases rapidly at first and then steadily slows over time.
- If $b<0,$ the model is decreasing. Decay occurs rapidly at first and then steadily slows over time.

### Logarithmic Regression

*Logarithmic regression* is used to model situations where growth or decay accelerates rapidly at first and then slows over time. We use the command “LnReg” on a graphing utility to fit a logarithmic function to a set of data points. This returns an equation of the form,

$$y=a+b\mathrm{ln}\left(x\right)$$

Note that

- all input values, $x,$ must be non-negative.
- when $b>0,$ the model is increasing.
- when $b<0,$ the model is decreasing.

### How To

**Given a set of data, perform logarithmic regression using a graphing utility.**

- Use the
**STAT**then**EDIT**menu to enter given data.- Clear any existing data from the lists.
- List the input values in the L1 column.
- List the output values in the L2 column.

- Graph and observe a scatter plot of the data using the
**STATPLOT**feature.- Use
**ZOOM**[**9**] to adjust axes to fit the data. - Verify the data follow a logarithmic pattern.

- Use
- Find the equation that models the data.
- Select “
**LnReg**” from the**STAT**then**CALC**menu. - Use the values returned for
*a*and*b*to record the model, $y=a+b\mathrm{ln}\left(x\right).$

- Select “
- Graph the model in the same window as the scatterplot to verify it is a good fit for the data.

### Example 2

#### Using Logarithmic Regression to Fit a Model to Data

Due to advances in medicine and higher standards of living, life expectancy has been increasing in most developed countries since the beginning of the 20th century.

Table 3 shows the average life expectancies, in years, of Americans from 1900–2010^{10}.

Year |
1900 | 1910 | 1920 | 1930 | 1940 | 1950 |

Life Expectancy(Years) |
47.3 | 50.0 | 54.1 | 59.7 | 62.9 | 68.2 |

Year |
1960 | 1970 | 1980 | 1990 | 2000 | 2010 |

Life Expectancy(Years) |
69.7 | 70.8 | 73.7 | 75.4 | 76.8 | 78.7 |

**Answer**- ⓐ Using the
**STAT**then**EDIT**menu on a graphing utility, list the years using values 1–12 in L1 and the corresponding life expectancy in L2. Then use the**STATPLOT**feature to verify that the scatterplot follows a logarithmic pattern as shown in Figure 3:Use the “

**LnReg**” command from the**STAT**then**CALC**menu to obtain the logarithmic model,$$y=42.52722583+13.85752327\mathrm{ln}(x)$$

Next, graph the model in the same window as the scatterplot to verify it is a good fit as shown in Figure 4:

- $$\begin{array}{lll}y\hfill & =42.52722583+13.85752327\mathrm{ln}(x)\hfill & \text{Use the regression model found in part (a)}\text{.}\hfill \\ \hfill & =42.52722583+13.85752327\mathrm{ln}(14)\hfill & \text{Substitute 14 for}x\text{.}\hfill \\ \hfill & \approx \text{79}\text{.1}\hfill & \text{Round to the nearest tenth.}\hfill \end{array}$$

- ⓐ Using the

### Try It #2

Sales of a video game released in the year 2000 took off at first, but then steadily slowed as time moved on. Table 4 shows the number of games sold, in thousands, from the years 2000–2010.

Year |
2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 |

Number Sold (thousands) |
142 | 149 | 154 | 155 | 159 | 161 |

Year |
2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | - |

Number Sold (thousands) |
163 | 164 | 164 | 166 | 167 | - |

### Building a Logistic Model from Data

Like exponential and logarithmic growth, logistic growth increases over time. One of the most notable differences with logistic growth models is that, at a certain point, growth steadily slows and the function approaches an upper bound, or *limiting value*. Because of this, logistic regression is best for modeling phenomena where there are limits in expansion, such as availability of living space or nutrients.

It is worth pointing out that logistic functions actually model resource-limited exponential growth. There are many examples of this type of growth in real-world situations, including population growth and spread of disease, rumors, and even stains in fabric. When performing logistic regression analysis, we use the form most commonly used on graphing utilities:

$$y=\frac{c}{1+a{e}^{-bx}}$$

Recall that:

- $\frac{c}{1+a}$ is the initial value of the model.
- when $b>0,$ the model increases rapidly at first until it reaches its point of maximum growth rate, $\left(\frac{\mathrm{ln}\left(a\right)}{b},\frac{c}{2}\right).$ At that point, growth steadily slows and the function becomes asymptotic to the upper bound $y=c.$
- $c$ is the limiting value, sometimes called the
*carrying capacity*, of the model.

### Logistic Regression

*Logistic regression* is used to model situations where growth accelerates rapidly at first and then steadily slows to an upper limit. We use the command “Logistic” on a graphing utility to fit a logistic function to a set of data points. This returns an equation of the form

$$y=\frac{c}{1+a{e}^{-bx}}$$

Note that

- The initial value of the model is $\frac{c}{1+a}.$
- Output values for the model grow closer and closer to $y=c$ as time increases.

### How To

**Given a set of data, perform logistic regression using a graphing utility.**

- Use the
**STAT**then**EDIT**menu to enter given data.- Clear any existing data from the lists.
- List the input values in the L1 column.
- List the output values in the L2 column.

- Graph and observe a scatter plot of the data using the
**STATPLOT**feature.- Use
**ZOOM**[**9**] to adjust axes to fit the data. - Verify the data follow a logistic pattern.

- Use
- Find the equation that models the data.
- Select “
**Logistic**” from the**STAT**then**CALC**menu. - Use the values returned for $a,$ $b,$ and $c$ to record the model, $y=\frac{c}{1+a{e}^{-bx}}.$

- Select “
- Graph the model in the same window as the scatterplot to verify it is a good fit for the data.

### Example 3

#### Using Logistic Regression to Fit a Model to Data

Mobile telephone service has increased rapidly in America since the mid 1990s. Today, almost all residents have cellular service. Table 5 shows the percentage of Americans with cellular service between the years 1995 and 2012 ^{11}.

Year | Americans with Cellular Service (%) | Year | Americans with Cellular Service (%) |
---|---|---|---|

1995 | 12.69 | 2004 | 62.852 |

1996 | 16.35 | 2005 | 68.63 |

1997 | 20.29 | 2006 | 76.64 |

1998 | 25.08 | 2007 | 82.47 |

1999 | 30.81 | 2008 | 85.68 |

2000 | 38.75 | 2009 | 89.14 |

2001 | 45.00 | 2010 | 91.86 |

2002 | 49.16 | 2011 | 95.28 |

2003 | 55.15 | 2012 | 98.17 |

**Answer**- ⓐ Using the
**STAT**then**EDIT**menu on a graphing utility, list the years using values 0–15 in L1 and the corresponding percentage in L2. Then use the**STATPLOT**feature to verify that the scatterplot follows a logistic pattern as shown in Figure 5:Use the “

**Logistic**” command from the**STAT**then**CALC**menu to obtain the logistic model,$$y=\frac{105.7379526}{1+6.88328979{e}^{-0.2595440013x}}$$

Next, graph the model in the same window as shown in Figure 6 the scatterplot to verify it is a good fit:

- To approximate the percentage of Americans with cellular service in the year 2013, substitute $x=18$ for the in the model and solve for $y:$
According to the model, about 99.3% of Americans had cellular service in 2013.

- The model gives a limiting value of about 105. This means that the maximum possible percentage of Americans with cellular service would be 105%, which is impossible. (How could over 100% of a population have cellular service?) If the model were exact, the limiting value would be $c=100$ and the model’s outputs would get very close to, but never actually reach 100%. After all, there will always be someone out there without cellular service!

- ⓐ Using the

### Try It #3

Table 6 shows the population, in thousands, of harbor seals in the Wadden Sea over the years 1997 to 2012.

Year | Seal Population (Thousands) | Year | Seal Population (Thousands) |
---|---|---|---|

1997 | 3.493 | 2005 | 19.590 |

1998 | 5.282 | 2006 | 21.955 |

1999 | 6.357 | 2007 | 22.862 |

2000 | 9.201 | 2008 | 23.869 |

2001 | 11.224 | 2009 | 24.243 |

2002 | 12.964 | 2010 | 24.344 |

2003 | 16.226 | 2011 | 24.919 |

2004 | 18.137 | 2012 | 25.108 |

### Media

Access this online resource for additional instruction and practice with exponential function models.

### 4.8 Section Exercises

#### Verbal

What situations are best modeled by a logistic equation? Give an example, and state a case for why the example is a good fit.

What is a carrying capacity? What kind of model has a carrying capacity built into its formula? Why does this make sense?

What is regression analysis? Describe the process of performing regression analysis on a graphing utility.

What might a scatterplot of data points look like if it were best described by a logarithmic model?

What does the *y*-intercept on the graph of a logistic equation correspond to for a population modeled by that equation?

#### Graphical

For the following exercises, match the given function of best fit with the appropriate scatterplot in Figure 7 through Figure 11. Answer using the letter beneath the matching graph.

$y=10.209{e}^{-0.294x}$

$y=5.598-1.912\mathrm{ln}(x)$

$y=2.104{\left(1.479\right)}^{x}$

$y=4.607+2.733\mathrm{ln}(x)$

$y=\frac{14.005}{1+2.79{e}^{-0.812x}}$

#### Numeric

To the nearest whole number, what is the initial value of a population modeled by the logistic equation $P(t)=\frac{175}{1+6.995{e}^{-0.68t}}?$ What is the carrying capacity?

Rewrite the exponential model $A(t)=1550{\left(1.085\right)}^{x}$ as an equivalent model with base $e.$ Express the exponent to four significant digits.

A logarithmic model is given by the equation $h(p)=67.682-5.792\mathrm{ln}\left(p\right).$ To the nearest hundredth, for what value of $p$ does $h(p)=62?$

A logistic model is given by the equation $P(t)=\frac{90}{1+5{e}^{-0.42t}}.$ To the nearest hundredth, for what value of *t* does $P(t)=45?$

What is the *y*-intercept on the graph of the logistic model given in the previous exercise?

#### Technology

For the following exercises, use this scenario: The population $P$ of a koi pond over $x$ months is modeled by the function $P(x)=\frac{68}{1+16{e}^{-0.28x}}.$

Graph the population model to show the population over a span of $3$ years.

What was the initial population of koi?

How many koi will the pond have after one and a half years?

How many months will it take before there are $20$ koi in the pond?

Use the intersect feature to approximate the number of months it will take before the population of the pond reaches half its carrying capacity.

For the following exercises, use this scenario: The population $P$ of an endangered species habitat for wolves is modeled by the function $P(x)=\frac{558}{1+54.8{e}^{-0.462x}},$ where $x$ is given in years.

Graph the population model to show the population over a span of $10$ years.

What was the initial population of wolves transported to the habitat?

How many wolves will the habitat have after $3$ years?

How many years will it take before there are $100$ wolves in the habitat?

Use the intersect feature to approximate the number of years it will take before the population of the habitat reaches half its carrying capacity.

For the following exercises, refer to Table 7.

x |
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

f(x) |
1125 | 1495 | 2310 | 3294 | 4650 | 6361 |

Use a graphing calculator to create a scatter diagram of the data.

Use the regression feature to find an exponential function that best fits the data in the table.

Write the exponential function as an exponential equation with base $e.$

Graph the exponential equation on the scatter diagram.

Use the intersect feature to find the value of $\phantom{\rule{0.8}{0ex}}\text{\hspace{0.17em}}x\text{\hspace{0.17em}}$ for which $f(x)=4000.$

For the following exercises, refer to Table 8.

x |
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

f(x) |
555 | 383 | 307 | 210 | 158 | 122 |

Use a graphing calculator to create a scatter diagram of the data.

Use the regression feature to find an exponential function that best fits the data in the table.

Write the exponential function as an exponential equation with base $e.$

Graph the exponential equation on the scatter diagram.

Use the intersect feature to find the value of $x$ for which $f(x)=250.$

For the following exercises, refer to Table 9.

x |
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

f(x) |
5.1 | 6.3 | 7.3 | 7.7 | 8.1 | 8.6 |

Use a graphing calculator to create a scatter diagram of the data.

Use the LOGarithm option of the REGression feature to find a logarithmic function of the form $y=a+b\mathrm{ln}\left(x\right)$ that best fits the data in the table.

Use the logarithmic function to find the value of the function when $x=10.$

Graph the logarithmic equation on the scatter diagram.

Use the intersect feature to find the value of $x$ for which $f(x)=7.$

For the following exercises, refer to Table 10.

x |
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |

f(x) |
7.5 | 6 | 5.2 | 4.3 | 3.9 | 3.4 | 3.1 | 2.9 |

Use a graphing calculator to create a scatter diagram of the data.

Use the **LOG**arithm option of the **REG**ression feature to find a logarithmic function of the form $y=a+b\mathrm{ln}\left(x\right)$ that best fits the data in the table.

Use the logarithmic function to find the value of the function when $x=10.$

Graph the logarithmic equation on the scatter diagram.

Use the intersect feature to find the value of $x$ for which $f(x)=8.$

For the following exercises, refer to Table 11.

x |
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 |

f(x) |
8.7 | 12.3 | 15.4 | 18.5 | 20.7 | 22.5 | 23.3 | 24 | 24.6 | 24.8 |

Use a graphing calculator to create a scatter diagram of the data.

Use the LOGISTIC regression option to find a logistic growth model of the form $y=\frac{c}{1+a{e}^{-bx}}$ that best fits the data in the table.

Graph the logistic equation on the scatter diagram.

To the nearest whole number, what is the predicted carrying capacity of the model?

Use the intersect feature to find the value of $x$ for which the model reaches half its carrying capacity.

For the following exercises, refer to Table 12.

$x$ | 0 | 2 | 4 | 5 | 7 | 8 | 10 | 11 | 15 | 17 |

$f\left(x\right)$ | 12 | 28.6 | 52.8 | 70.3 | 99.9 | 112.5 | 125.8 | 127.9 | 135.1 | 135.9 |

Use a graphing calculator to create a scatter diagram of the data.

Use the LOGISTIC regression option to find a logistic growth model of the form $y=\frac{c}{1+a{e}^{-bx}}$ that best fits the data in the table.

Graph the logistic equation on the scatter diagram.

To the nearest whole number, what is the predicted carrying capacity of the model?

Use the intersect feature to find the value of $x$ for which the model reaches half its carrying capacity.

#### Extensions

Recall that the general form of a logistic equation for a population is given by $P(t)=\frac{c}{1+a{e}^{-bt}},$ such that the initial population at time $t=0$ is $P(0)={P}_{0}.$ Show algebraically that $\frac{c-P(t)}{P(t)}=\frac{c-{P}_{0}}{{P}_{0}}{e}^{-bt}.$

Use a graphing utility to find an exponential regression formula $f(x)$ and a logarithmic regression formula $g(x)$ for the points $\left(1.5,1.5\right)$ and $\left(8.5,\phantom{\rule{0.5em}{0ex}}\text{8.5}\right).$ Round all numbers to 6 decimal places. Graph the points and both formulas along with the line $y=x$ on the same axis. Make a conjecture about the relationship of the regression formulas.

Verify the conjecture made in the previous exercise. Round all numbers to six decimal places when necessary.

Find the inverse function ${f}^{-1}\left(x\right)$ for the logistic function $f(x)=\frac{c}{1+a{e}^{-bx}}.$ Show all steps.

Use the result from the previous exercise to graph the logistic model $P(t)=\frac{20}{1+4{e}^{-0.5t}}$ along with its inverse on the same axis. What are the intercepts and asymptotes of each function?