Advanced Curve Fitting with FNC Math Components

New version 3.2 of TMS Analytics & Physics
introduced FNC components for creating math applications with minimal
code writing. The previous
described how to implement curve fitting. In this article, we’ll
continue the theme and explain some advanced features for function

Generally, we use some standard basis
functions for curve fitting: Fourier basis (sine and cosine functions),
polynomials, exponent functions, and so on. In rare cases, we need specific basis
functions to approximate the data. The TMS FNC math components provide a
straightforward way to create a basis with any set of functions. Moreover, we
can develop and test the basis right in design time.

The component for creating a basis with a
set of user-defined functions is TFNCLinearBasis1D.
The component provides the following published properties:

  • Variable (TVariableProperty) – provides the name of the variable for the basis functions.
  • Coefficient (TVariableProperty) – provides the name of the coefficient for the fitting problem.
  • Order (integer) – number of basis functions for approximation (read-only).
  • Expression (string) – math expression of the constructed function (read-only).
  • Parameters (TParameterCollection) – a set of parameters for parametric basis functions.
  • Functions (TParameterCollection) – a set of functions to construct the basis.

The two last properties provide the functionality to construct an
arbitrary basis. With the
property, you can add named values into the math environment and then use them
to parametrize the set of basis functions. The
Functions property allows to add, edit, and delete functions via
standard Delphi collection editors. The collection contains items of
TFormulaProperty type. When you add an
item to the collection you can edit it with the Object Inspector as shown in
the picture below. 

TMS Software Delphi  Components

The class TFormulaPropery has several properties and a built-in mechanism to check the function for correctness. If you input a math expression that is not valid in the current context, the Error property will indicate what is wrong in the formula. An example is shown in the following picture.

TMS Software Delphi  Components

For our example, we created the collection with three basis functions: ‘1’, ‘log{2}(x/A)’ (logarithm to the base 2), and ‘P{3 2}(x/A)’ (associated Legendre polynomial of 3-rd degree and 2-nd order). Then, following the instructions described in the previous article, we added a data source, an approximated function, and a plotter to draw the function on the FNC chart. The final resulting FMX form at design time is shown in the picture below.

TMS Software Delphi  Components

The main advantage of using the FNC math components is that you can select appropriate basis functions without running the application. At design time you can change parameter values and math expressions of basis functions. The changes will immediately affect the approximated function and you can see as the fitted curve looks on the FNC chart. Also, you can verify that the approximation succeeded by looking at the properties of the approximated function, as shown in the following picture.

TMS Software Delphi  Components

Another feature of
the FNC math components is that they work with symbolic data representation. Although
the approximation uses discrete data as input, the result is a symbolic
expression of the curve. So, we can use this expression for some advanced
analysis. For example, we can evaluate the derivative of the function.

     The TFNCApproxFunction1D
is a descendant of the TFNCBaseFunction1D
class. Thus, we can use the same approach, as described in this article, to
evaluate and draw the derivative of the fitted curve. The resulting designed
form is shown in the picture below.

TMS Software Delphi  Components

Note that the
derivative is not evaluated numerically, as a finite difference for example. It
is an analytical math function. So, this function can be evaluated at any
point, not only at discrete points in the data source. Moreover, we can
evaluate the fitted curve and its derivative at the points outside the data
interval (for example, to predict how it is changed at the next point).

It is also easy to manage the parameters of
approximation and other options at run time. For example, with the following
small piece of code, we can update the data source.

  x, y: TArray;
  x:= [ 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, 6.0, 7.0, 8.0, 9.0 ];
  y:= [ 8.0, 2.7, 1.7,-1.2,-1.7,-4.2,-5.4,-5.7,-5.4 ];
  FNCDataSource1D1.AssignArray(x, y);

When the data is assigned, the components are automatically
updated and we can see the resulting fitted curve and its derivative on the

TMS Software Delphi  Components

The source code of the demo project for the article can be downloaded
from here
. You can install the TMS Analytics & Physics
products and use many other useful features of the FNC math components.

Note that for students and teachers, there is also the free academic version of TMS Analytics & Physics. You can register for it from TMS Web Academy.