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st: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Stata stuck in loop with -rndpoi-?

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   st: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Stata stuck in loop with -rndpoi-?
Date   Thu, 13 May 2010 16:49:13 +0100

Fair enough. I am reminded of the old advice "To solve this differential
equation, stare at it until a solution occurs to you". 

I was trying a sales pitch for -viewsource-. There is a downside:
thinking is needed too. Also, experience helps and experiment helps a
great deal. 

Consider the problem report: The program fails to satisfy if the
argument is too big. So, something breaks down inside. Experience
indicates the problem is likely to be an overflow or an underflow. 

The first thing in the program that looked as if could be problematic
was calculating  exp(-mean) (NOT exp(mean)). Experimentation with
-display- brought confirmation. 


Martin Weiss

" look at the code."

I don`t get this: Which problem is solved by looking at the code here? I
earlier, and could not tell that the problem was with "exp(710)". Maybe
is just me, maybe not...

Nick Cox

As someone said, if all else fails, look at the code. -viewsource
rndpoi- gets you there in one. 

Karen Wright

Thank you very much for the help.

>>> "Martin Weiss" <> 13/05/2010 16:06 >>>

" You need something with a better algorithm."

-genpoisson-, as in -findit genpoisson, does not complain or behave

set obs 10000
genpoisson x, mu(710)
hist x


-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Nick Cox
Sent: Donnerstag, 13. Mai 2010 16:57
Subject: st: RE: RE: RE: RE: Stata stuck in loop with -rndpoi-?

It's an underflow problem. -rndpoi- at one point calculates exp(-mean),
but try 

. di exp(-710)

and you will get 0. Even if you get results for means near 700, they
will be of dubious accuracy. You need something with a better algorithm.
Alternatively, won't a Poisson with mean 700 look pretty near Gaussian
any way? I get the skewness and kurtosis to be 

. di 1/sqrt(700)

. di 3 + 1/700

which would cause broad and continuing smiles of pleasure in many
branches of statistical science. 


Nick Cox

What I said in 2003 still holds. 


Martin Weiss

Also note Nick`s advice at, though
may have changed materially in the meantime...

Karen Wright

Unfortunately my IT department has a problem with letting us upgrade
they have to perform it and do not want to - which is why I was trying
to do
it without the ugrade.  Thank you, I shall just have to pester them

>>> "Martin Weiss" <> 13/05/2010 14:59:48 >>>

You could just upgrade for free to Stata 10.1, and use the -rpoisson()-

Karen Wright

I am attempting to generate 10000 random number based on a poisson
distribution with mean from my data, using -rndpoi- (from ssc).
I seem to encounter a problem when the mean is greater than 700.  Would
anyone be able to help me, either with an alternative method of
the figures I need, or what I am currently doing wrong?


*this works:
rndpoi 10000 694.5
*this doesn't:
rndpoi 10000 710
I am currently using Stata 10.0 on Windows. 

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