# [R] Documentation of B-spline function

Charles C. Berry cberry at tajo.ucsd.edu
Sat Jun 12 00:52:40 CEST 2010

```On Fri, 11 Jun 2010, Christos Argyropoulos wrote:

>
> Goodmorning,
>
> This is a documentation related question about the B-spline function in R.
> In the help file it is stated that:
>
> "df degrees of freedom; one can specify df rather than knots; bs() then
> chooses df-degree-1 knots at suitable quantiles of x (which will ignore
> missing values)."

Not in R 2.11.1 where help("bs") says:

df	   degrees of freedom; one can specify df rather than knots; bs()
then chooses df-degree (minus one if there is an intercept)
knots at suitable quantiles of x (which will ignore missing
values).

>
> So if one were to specify a spline with 6 degrees of freedom (and no intercept) then a basis with 6-3-1 =2  internal knots should be created. However this is not what happens:
>
>> library(splines)
>> s1<-bs(women\$height, df = 6,deg=3)
>> s2<-bs(women\$height, df = 6,deg=2)
>>
>> attributes(s1)\$knots
> 25%  50%  75%
> 61.5 65.0 68.5
>> attributes(s2)\$knots
> 20%  40%  60%  80%
> 60.8 63.6 66.4 69.2
>>
>
> i.e. basis is created with an extra knot i.e. bs() chooses df-degree internal knots
>
> The documentation of "ns" states that: " .... ns() then chooses df - 1 -
> intercept knots ..." suggesting that the spline functions create the
> basis with df-degree internal knots if no intercept is specified but
> df-degree-1 internal knots if the caller explicitly asks for an
> intercept.

If you  knew that 1 - TRUE == 0, then you know that is what it says.

>
>> s1<-bs(women\$height, df = 6,deg=3,intercept=T)
>> s2<-bs(women\$height, df = 6,deg=2,intercept=T)
>>
>> attributes(s1)\$knots
> 33.33333% 66.66667%
> 62.66667  67.33333
>> attributes(s2)\$knots
> 25%  50%  75%
> 61.5 65.0 68.5
>
>
> Is it possible to change the documentation of these functions to reflect
> their actual behaviour. For example something like the following: "df
> degrees of freedom; one can specify df rather than knots; bs() then
> chooses df-degree-1 knots at suitable quantiles of x (which will ignore
> missing values) if the intercept argument is TRUE and df-degree if
> intercept=FALSE."

R-devel is where you post stuff like this, but be sure to refer to current
versions to avoid being flamed for non-compliance with posting guidelines.

HTH,

Chuck

>
>
> Christos Argyropoulos
>
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