`relgam`

is a package that fits ** reluctant generalized additive models (RGAM)**, a new method for fitting sparse generalized additive models (GAM). RGAM is computationally scalable and works with continuous, binary, count and survival data.

We introduce some notation that we will use throughout this vignette. Let there be \(n\) observations, each with feature vector \(x_i \in \mathbb{R}^p\) and response \(y_i\). Let \(\mathbf{X} \in \mathbb{R}^{n \times p}\) denote the overall feature matrix, and let \(y \in \mathbb{R}^n\) denote the vector of responses. Let \(X_j \in \mathbb{R}^n\) denote the \(j\)th column of \(\mathbf{X}\).

Assume that the columns of \(\mathbf{X}\), i.e. \(X_1, \dots, X_p\), are standardized to have sample standard deviation \(1\). Assume that we have specified a scaling hyperparmeter \(\gamma \in [0,1]\), a degrees of freedom hyperparameter \(d\), and a path of tuning parameters \(\lambda_1 > \dots > \lambda_m \geq 0\). RGAM’s model-fitting algorithm, implemented in the function `rgam()`

, consists of 3 steps:

Fit the lasso of \(y\) on \(\mathbf{X}\) to get coefficients \(\hat{\beta}\). Compute the residuals \(r = y - \mathbf{X} \hat{\beta}\), using the \(\lambda\) hyperparameter selected by cross-validation.

For each \(j \in \{ 1, \dots, p \}\), fit a \(d\)-degree smoothing spline of \(r\) on \(X_j\) which we denote by \(\hat{f}_j\). Rescale \(\hat{f}_j\) so that \(\overline{\text{sd}}(\hat{f}_j) = \gamma\). Let \(\mathbf{F} \in \mathbb{R}^{n \times p}\) denote the matrix whose columns are the \(\hat{f}_j(X_j)\)’s.

Fit the lasso of \(y\) on \(\mathbf{X}\) and \(\mathbf{F}\) for the path of tuning parameters \(\lambda_1 > \dots > \lambda_m\).

Steps 1 and 3 are implemented using `glmnet::glmnet()`

while Step 2 is implemented using `stats::smooth.spline()`

. (Note that the path of tuning parameters \(\lambda_1 > \dots > \lambda_m\) are only used in Step 3; for Step 1 we use `glmnet::glmnet()`

’s default lambda path.) We will refer to these 3 steps by their numbers (e.g. “Step 1”) throughout the rest of the vignette.

The `rgam()`

function fits this model and returns an object with class “rgam”. The `relgam`

package includes methods for prediction and plotting for “rgam” objects, as well as a function which performs \(k\)-fold cross-validation for `rgam()`

.

For more details, please see our paper on arXiv.

The simplest way to obtain `relgam`

is to install it directly from CRAN. Type the following command in R console:

`install.packages("relgam")`

This command downloads the R package and installs it to the default directories. Users may change add a `repos`

option to the function call to specify which repository to download from, depending on their locations and preferences.

Alternatively, users can download the package source at CRAN and type Unix commands to install it to the desired location.

`rgam()`

functionThe purpose of this section is to give users a general sense of the `rgam()`

function, which is the workhorse of this package. First, we load the `relgam`

package:

`library(relgam)`

Let’s generate some data:

```
set.seed(1)
n <- 100; p <- 12
x = matrix(rnorm((n) * p), ncol = p)
f4 = 2 * x[,4]^2 + 4 * x[,4] - 2
f5 = -2 * x[, 5]^2 + 2
f6 = 0.5 * x[, 6]^3
mu = rowSums(x[, 1:3]) + f4 + f5 + f6
y = mu + sqrt(var(mu) / 4) * rnorm(n)
```

We fit the model using the most basic call to `rgam()`

:

```
fit <- rgam(x, y, verbose = FALSE)
#> init_nz not specified: setting to default (all features)
#> using default value of gamma for RGAM: 0.6
```

(If `verbose = TRUE`

(default), model-fitting is tracked with a progress bar in the console. For the purposes of this vignette, we will be setting `verbose = FALSE`

.)

`rgam()`

has an `init_nz`

option which (partially) determines which columns in the \(\mathbf{X}\) matrix will have non-linear features computed in Step 2 of the RGAM algorithm. \(X_j\) will have a non-linear feature computed for it if (i) it was one of the features selected by cross-validation in Step 1, or (ii) it is one of the indices specified in `init_nz`

. By default, `init_nz = 1:ncol(x)`

, i.e. non-linear features are computed for all the original features. Another sensible default is `init_nz = c()`

, i.e. non-linear features computed for just those selected in Step 1. (This version of the RGAM algorithm is denoted by RGAM_SEL in our paper.)

Below, we fit the model with a different `init_nz`

value:

```
fit <- rgam(x, y, init_nz = c(), verbose = FALSE)
#> using default value of gamma for RGAM_SEL: 0.8
```

You might have noticed that in both cases above, we did not specify a value for the `gamma`

hyperparameter: `rgam()`

chose one for us and informed us of the choice. The default value for `gamma`

is 0.6 if `init_nz = c()`

, and is 0.8 in all other cases.

The degrees of freedom hyperparameter for Step 2 of the RGAM algorithm can be set through the `df`

option, the default value is 4. Here is an example of fitting the RGAM model with different hyperparameters:

```
fit <- rgam(x, y, gamma = 0.6, df = 8, verbose = FALSE)
#> init_nz not specified: setting to default (all features)
```

The function `rgam()`

fits a RGAM for a path of lambda values and returns a `rgam`

object. Typical usage is to have `rgam()`

specify the lambda sequence on its own. The returned `rgam`

object contains some useful information on the fitted model. For a given value of the \(\lambda\) hyperparameter, RGAM gives the predictions of the form

\(\hat{y} = \sum_{j=1}^p \hat{\alpha}_j X_j + \sum_{j = 1}^p \hat{\beta}_j \hat{f}_j(X_j),\)

where \(\hat{f}_j(X_j)\) are the non-linear features constructed in Step 2, while the \(\hat{\alpha}_j\) and \(\hat{\beta}_j\) are the fitted coefficients from Step 3. The returned RGAM object has `nzero_feat`

, `nzero_lin`

and `nzero_nonlin`

keys which tell us how many features, linear components and non-linear components were included in the model respectively. (In mathematical notation, `nzero_lin`

and `nzero_nonlin`

count the number of non-zero \(\hat{\alpha}_j\) and \(\hat{\beta}_j\) respectively, while `nzero_feat`

counts the number of \(j\) such that at least one of \(\hat{\alpha}_j\) and \(\hat{\beta}_j\) is non-zero).

```
# no. of features/linear components/non-linear components for 20th lambda value
fit$nzero_feat[20]
#> [1] 7
fit$nzero_lin[20]
#> s19
#> 5
fit$nzero_nonlin[20]
#> s19
#> 5
```

While the `nzero_feat`

, `nzero_lin`

and `nzero_nonlin`

keys tell us the number of features, linear components and non-linear components included for each lambda value, the `feat`

, `linfeat`

and `nonlinfeat`

tell us the indices of these features or components.

```
# features included in the model for 20th lambda value
fit$feat[[20]]
#> [1] 2 3 4 5 6 10 11
# features which have a linear component in the model for 20th lambda value
fit$linfeat[[20]]
#> [1] 2 3 4 5 6
# features which have a non-linear component in the model for 20th lambda value
fit$nonlinfeat[[20]]
#> [1] 4 5 6 10 11
```

In general, we have `fit$nzero_feat[[i]] == length(fit$feat[[i]])`

, `fit$nzero_lin[[i]] == length(fit$linfeat[[i]])`

and `fit$nzero_nonlin[[i]] == length(fit$nonlinfeat[[i]])`

.

Predictions from this model can be obtained by using the `predict`

method of the `rgam()`

function output: each column gives the predictions for a value of `lambda`

.

```
# get predictions for 20th model for first 5 observations
predict(fit, x[1:5, ])[, 20]
#> [1] 1.408575 -3.099603 7.362201 -1.609205 6.729858
```

The `getf()`

function is a convenience function that gives the component of the prediction due to one input variable. That is, if RGAM gives predictions

\(\hat{y} = \sum_{j=1}^p \hat{\alpha}_j X_j + \sum_{j = 1}^p \hat{\beta}_j \hat{f}_j(X_j),\)

then calling `getf()`

on \(X_j\) returns \(\hat{\alpha}_j X_j + \hat{\beta}_j \hat{f}_j(X_j)\). For example, the code below gives the component of the response due to variable 5 at the 20th lambda value:

```
f5 <- getf(fit, x, j = 5, index = 20)
as.vector(f5)
#> [1] -0.13038873 -2.00876503 1.96362206 1.93205913 1.94826187
#> [6] 1.92201185 1.91597986 1.86679777 -0.64901723 1.87631654
#> [11] 1.93028602 0.18113054 -0.18964651 1.76235317 1.98516408
#> [16] 0.33605522 -0.07207409 1.83242679 -0.89754110 -1.29738244
#> [21] -0.63653216 1.85948754 1.60090148 -2.98736659 0.27251312
#> [26] -1.02410778 -2.21467504 1.74899872 1.93616023 1.89608549
#> [31] -4.76717869 0.37014025 -1.53780332 1.52676873 0.24381746
#> [36] 1.78444567 0.01999517 1.52816257 1.93043905 0.18697503
#> [41] 1.95858387 -1.51026593 1.51357019 0.04242528 0.99736549
#> [46] -12.45969898 -0.51655212 1.95300610 0.91815634 -6.95724959
#> [51] -0.02530384 1.96278776 1.79530566 -1.69059815 -1.04489654
#> [56] 1.35644755 0.35729116 -5.20859065 1.17565474 0.31850577
#> [61] 1.96844763 -3.44438244 -0.34551050 0.24086324 1.46691069
#> [66] 0.81357489 1.86548080 0.20517806 -0.72324681 -0.14052225
#> [71] 1.68488945 -2.09699455 1.67367201 0.46966183 -0.49447192
#> [76] -0.24748950 0.61925974 0.92639442 -0.27793468 1.53241240
#> [81] 1.90969419 0.61303031 1.98600575 1.91294888 -4.52315844
#> [86] -5.05399415 1.75016795 1.03578280 -4.36019460 0.34930944
#> [91] 0.85309077 -4.14328595 1.52350923 1.22980304 -10.49335410
#> [96] 0.77723033 0.74645435 0.78568544 0.65539011 1.55355891
```

We can use this to make a plot showing the effect of variable 5 on the response:

`plot(x[, 5], f5, xlab = "x5", ylab = "f(x5)")`

(The “Plots and summaries” section shows how to get such a plot more easily.)

Let’s fit the basic `rgam`

model again:

```
fit <- rgam(x, y, verbose = FALSE)
#> init_nz not specified: setting to default (all features)
#> using default value of gamma for RGAM: 0.6
```

`fit`

is a class “rgam” object which comes with a `plot`

method. The `plot`

method shows us the relationship our predicted response has with each input feature, i.e. it plots \(\hat{\alpha}_j X_j + \hat{\beta}_j \hat{f}_j(X_j)\) vs. \(X_j\) for each \(j\). Besides passing `fit`

to the `plot()`

call, the user must also pass an input matrix `x`

: this is used to determine the coordinate limits for the plot. It is recommended that the user simply pass in the same input matrix that the RGAM model was fit on.

By default, `plot()`

gives the fitted functions for the last value of the `lambda`

key in `fit`

, and gives just the plots for the first 4 features:

```
par(mfrow = c(1, 4))
par(mar = c(4, 2, 2, 2))
plot(fit, x)
#> Warning in plot.rgam(fit, x): Plotting first 4 variables by default
```

The user can specify the index of the lambda value and which feature plots to show using the `index`

and `which`

options respectively:

```
# show fitted functions for x2, x5 and x8 at the model for the 15th lambda value
par(mfrow = c(1, 3))
plot(fit, x, index = 15, which = c(2, 5, 8))
```

Linear functions are colored green, non-linear functions are colored red, while zero functions are colored blue.

Class “rgam” objects also have a `summary`

method which allows the user to see the coefficient profiles of the linear and non-linear features. On each plot (one for linear features and one for non-linear features), the x-axis is the \(\lambda\) value going from large to small and the y-axis is the coefficient of the feature.

`summary(fit)`

By default the coefficient profiles are plotted for all the variables. We can plot for just a subset of the features by specifying the `which`

option. We can also include annotations to show which profile belongs to which feature by specifying `label = TRUE`

.

```
# coefficient profiles for just features 4 to 6
summary(fit, which = 1:6, label = TRUE)
```

We can perform \(k\)-fold cross-validation (CV) for RGAM with `cv.rgam()`

. It does 10-fold cross-validation by default:

`cvfit <- cv.rgam(x, y, init_nz = 1:ncol(x), gamma = 0.6, verbose = FALSE)`

We can change the number of folds using the `nfolds`

option:

`cvfit <- cv.rgam(x, y, init_nz = 1:ncol(x), gamma = 0.6, nfolds = 5, verbose = FALSE)`

If we want to specify which observation belongs to which fold, we can do that by specifying the `foldid`

option, which is a vector of length \(n\), with the \(i\)th element being the fold number for observation \(i\).

```
set.seed(3)
foldid <- sample(rep(seq(10), length = n))
cvfit <- cv.rgam(x, y, init_nz = 1:ncol(x), gamma = 0.6, foldid = foldid, verbose = FALSE)
```

A `cv.rgam()`

call returns a `cv.rgam`

object. We can plot this object to get the CV curve with error bars (one standard error in each direction). The left vertical dotted line represents `lambda.min`

, the `lambda`

value which attains minimum CV error, while the right vertical dotted line represents `lambda.1se`

, the largest `lambda`

value with CV error within one standard error of the minimum CV error.

`plot(cvfit)`

The numbers at the top represent the number of features in our original input matrix that are included in the model (i.e. the number of \(j\) such that at least one of \(\hat{\alpha}_j\) and \(\hat{\beta}_j\) is non-zero).

The two special `lambda`

values can be extracted directly from the `cv.rgam`

object as well:

```
cvfit$lambda.min
#> [1] 0.02595555
cvfit$lambda.1se
#> [1] 0.06580678
```

Predictions can be made from the fitted `cv.rgam`

object. By default, predictions are given for `lambda`

being equal to `lambda.1se`

. To get predictions are `lambda.min`

, set `s = "lambda.min"`

.

```
predict(cvfit, x[1:5, ]) # s = lambda.1se
#> 1
#> [1,] 1.863440
#> [2,] -4.477733
#> [3,] 8.664422
#> [4,] -0.874814
#> [5,] 6.672235
predict(cvfit, x[1:5, ], s = "lambda.min")
#> 1
#> [1,] 1.567028
#> [2,] -4.516911
#> [3,] 9.324387
#> [4,] -1.443938
#> [5,] 8.087449
```

In the examples above, `y`

was a quantitative variable (i.e. takes values along the real number line). As such, using the default `family = "gaussian"`

for `rgam()`

was appropriate. The RGAM algorithm, however, is very flexible and can be used when `y`

is not a quantitative variable.

`rgam()`

is currently implemented for three other family values: `"binomial"`

, `"poisson"`

and `"cox"`

. The `rgam()`

and `cv.rgam()`

functions, as well as their methods, can be used as above but with the `family`

option specified appropriately. In the sections below we point out some details that are particular to each family.

In this setting, the response `y`

should be a numeric vector containing just 0s and 1s. When doing prediction, note that by default `predict()`

gives just the value of the linear predictors, i.e.

\(\log [\hat{p} / (1 - \hat{p})] = \hat{y} = \sum_{j=1}^p \hat{\alpha}_j X_j + \sum_{j = 1}^p \hat{\beta}_j \hat{f}_j(X_j),\)

where \(\hat{p}\) is the predicted probability. To get the predicted probability, the user has to pass `type = "response"`

to the `predict()`

call.

```
# fit binary model
bin_y <- ifelse(y > 0, 1, 0)
binfit <- rgam(x, bin_y, family = "binomial", init_nz = c(), gamma = 0.9,
verbose = FALSE)
# linear predictors for first 5 observations at 10th model
predict(binfit, x[1:5, ])[, 10]
#> [1] 0.3250267 -0.6485438 0.8554076 -0.6302209 0.7420511
# predicted probabilities for first 5 observations at 10th model
predict(binfit, x[1:5, ], type = "response")[, 10]
#> [1] 0.5805488 0.3433178 0.7017003 0.3474605 0.6774442
```

For Poisson regression, the response `y`

should be a vector of count data. While `rgam()`

does not expect each element to be an integer, it will throw an error if any of the elements are negative.

As with logistic regression, by default `predict()`

gives just the value of the linear predictors, i.e.

\(\log \hat{\mu} = \hat{y} = \sum_{j=1}^p \hat{\alpha}_j X_j + \sum_{j = 1}^p \hat{\beta}_j \hat{f}_j(X_j),\)

where \(\hat{\mu}\) is the predicted rate. To get the predicted rate, the user has to pass `type = "response"`

to the `predict()`

call.

With Poisson data, it is common to allow the user to pass in an , which is a vector having the same length as the number of observations. `rgam()`

allows the user to do this as well:

```
# generate data
set.seed(5)
offset <- rnorm(n)
poi_y <- rpois(n, abs(mu) * exp(offset))
poifit <- rgam(x, poi_y, family = "poisson", offset = offset, verbose = FALSE)
#> init_nz not specified: setting to default (all features)
#> using default value of gamma for RGAM: 0.6
```

Note that if `offset`

is supplied to `rgam()`

, then an offset vector must also be supplied to `predict()`

when making predictions:

```
# rate predictions at 20th lambda value
predict(poifit, x[1:5, ], newoffset = offset, type = "response")[,20]
#> [1] 4.904281 3.940030 5.075481 3.104760 7.244539
```

For Cox regression, the response `y`

must be a two-column matrix with columns named `time`

and `status`

. The `status`

column is a binary variable, with 1 indicating death and 0 indicating right censored. We note that one way to produce such a matrix is using the `Surv()`

function in the `survival`

package.

As with logistic and Poisson regression, by default `predict()`

gives just the value of the linear predictors. Passing `type = "response"`

to the `predict()`

call will return the predicted relative-risk.