Adaptively refined dynamic program for linear spline regression

Noam Goldberg, Youngdae Kim, Sven Leyffer, Thomas D. Veselka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The linear spline regression problem is to determine a piecewise linear function for estimating a set of given points while minimizing a given measure of misfit or error. This is a classical problem in computational statistics and operations research; dynamic programming was proposed as a solution technique more than 40 years ago by Bellman and Roth (J Am Stat Assoc 64:1079-1084, 1969). The algorithm requires a discretization of the solution space to define a grid of candidate breakpoints. This paper proposes an adaptive refinement scheme for the grid of candidate breakpoints in order to allow the dynamic programming method to scale for larger instances of the problem. We evaluate the quality of solutions found on small instances compared with optimal solutions determined by a novel integer programming formulation of the problem. We also consider a generalization of the linear spline regression problem to fit multiple curves that share breakpoint horizontal coordinates, and we extend our method to solve the generalized problem. Computational experiments verify that our nonuniform grid construction schemes are useful for computing high-quality solutions for both the single-curve and two-curve linear spline regression problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-541
Number of pages19
JournalComputational Optimization and Applications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Disclaimer The submitted manuscript has been created by UChicago Argonne, LLC, Operator of Argonne National Laboratory (“Argonne”). Argonne, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory, is operated under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357. The U.S. Government retains for itself, and others acting on its behalf, a paid-up nonexclusive, irrevocable worldwide license in said article to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies to the public, and perform publicly and display publicly, by or on behalf of the Government.


  • Change point detection
  • Dynamic programming
  • Least squares
  • Mixed-integer programming
  • Piecewise regression


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