rlm {MASS}R Documentation

Robust Fitting of Linear Models


Fit a linear model by robust regression using an M estimator.


rlm(x, ...)

## S3 method for class 'formula'
rlm(formula, data, weights, ..., subset, na.action,
    method = c("M", "MM", "model.frame"),
    wt.method = c("inv.var", "case"),
    model = TRUE, x.ret = TRUE, y.ret = FALSE, contrasts = NULL)

## Default S3 method:
rlm(x, y, weights, ..., w = rep(1, nrow(x)),
    init = "ls", psi = psi.huber,
    scale.est = c("MAD", "Huber", "proposal 2"), k2 = 1.345,
    method = c("M", "MM"), wt.method = c("inv.var", "case"),
    maxit = 20, acc = 1e-4, test.vec = "resid", lqs.control = NULL)

psi.huber(u, k = 1.345, deriv = 0)
psi.hampel(u, a = 2, b = 4, c = 8, deriv = 0)
psi.bisquare(u, c = 4.685, deriv = 0)



a formula of the form y ~ x1 + x2 + ....


data frame from which variables specified in formula are preferentially to be taken.


a vector of prior weights for each case.


An index vector specifying the cases to be used in fitting.


A function to specify the action to be taken if NAs are found. The ‘factory-fresh’ default action in R is na.omit, and can be changed by options(na.action=).


a matrix or data frame containing the explanatory variables.


the response: a vector of length the number of rows of x.


currently either M-estimation or MM-estimation or (for the formula method only) find the model frame. MM-estimation is M-estimation with Tukey's biweight initialized by a specific S-estimator. See the ‘Details’ section.


are the weights case weights (giving the relative importance of case, so a weight of 2 means there are two of these) or the inverse of the variances, so a weight of two means this error is half as variable?


should the model frame be returned in the object?


should the model matrix be returned in the object?


should the response be returned in the object?


optional contrast specifications: see lm.


(optional) initial down-weighting for each case.


(optional) initial values for the coefficients OR a method to find initial values OR the result of a fit with a coef component. Known methods are "ls" (the default) for an initial least-squares fit using weights w*weights, and "lts" for an unweighted least-trimmed squares fit with 200 samples.


the psi function is specified by this argument. It must give (possibly by name) a function g(x, ..., deriv) that for deriv=0 returns psi(x)/x and for deriv=1 returns psi'(x). Tuning constants will be passed in via ....


method of scale estimation: re-scaled MAD of the residuals (default) or Huber's proposal 2 (which can be selected by either "Huber" or "proposal 2").


tuning constant used for Huber proposal 2 scale estimation.


the limit on the number of IWLS iterations.


the accuracy for the stopping criterion.


the stopping criterion is based on changes in this vector.


additional arguments to be passed to rlm.default or to the psi function.


An optional list of control values for lqs.


numeric vector of evaluation points.

k, a, b, c

tuning constants.


0 or 1: compute values of the psi function or of its first derivative.


Fitting is done by iterated re-weighted least squares (IWLS).

Psi functions are supplied for the Huber, Hampel and Tukey bisquare proposals as psi.huber, psi.hampel and psi.bisquare. Huber's corresponds to a convex optimization problem and gives a unique solution (up to collinearity). The other two will have multiple local minima, and a good starting point is desirable.

Selecting method = "MM" selects a specific set of options which ensures that the estimator has a high breakdown point. The initial set of coefficients and the final scale are selected by an S-estimator with k0 = 1.548; this gives (for n >> p) breakdown point 0.5. The final estimator is an M-estimator with Tukey's biweight and fixed scale that will inherit this breakdown point provided c > k0; this is true for the default value of c that corresponds to 95% relative efficiency at the normal. Case weights are not supported for method = "MM".


An object of class "rlm" inheriting from "lm". Note that the df.residual component is deliberately set to NA to avoid inappropriate estimation of the residual scale from the residual mean square by "lm" methods.

The additional components not in an lm object are


the robust scale estimate used


the weights used in the IWLS process


the psi function with parameters substituted


the convergence criteria at each iteration


did the IWLS converge?


a working residual, weighted for "inv.var" weights only.


P. J. Huber (1981) Robust Statistics. Wiley.

F. R. Hampel, E. M. Ronchetti, P. J. Rousseeuw and W. A. Stahel (1986) Robust Statistics: The Approach based on Influence Functions. Wiley.

A. Marazzi (1993) Algorithms, Routines and S Functions for Robust Statistics. Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole.

Venables, W. N. and Ripley, B. D. (2002) Modern Applied Statistics with S. Fourth edition. Springer.

See Also

lm, lqs.


summary(rlm(stack.loss ~ ., stackloss))
rlm(stack.loss ~ ., stackloss, psi = psi.hampel, init = "lts")
rlm(stack.loss ~ ., stackloss, psi = psi.bisquare)

[Package MASS version 7.3-47 Index]