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Study Guides > College Algebra

Introduction to Fitting Exponential Models to Data


By the end of this lesson, you will be able to:
  • 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.

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  • Precalculus. Provided by: OpenStax Authored by: Jay Abramson, et al.. Located at: https://openstax.org/books/precalculus/pages/1-introduction-to-functions. License: CC BY: Attribution. License terms: Download For Free at : http://cnx.org/contents/[email protected]..