L1.05: Section 4

Section 4: Using Solver to choose the best kind of model

Sometimes data has a pattern for which more than one kind of model is a potential match. While visual inspection of the best-fit graphs will usually show which one is best, you can also choose between candidates by seeing which model type has the smallest best-fit standard deviation.

Example 6: Does a quadratic model fit the population data better than the model in Example 3? Why?

Solution approach:

[a] Use Solver with the Quadratic Model worksheet in Models.xls to fit the same data.

[b] Add the computation of standard deviation to the worksheet.

[c] Compare the standard deviation σ for the quadratic model with that of the exponential model.

Can you think of another reason that a quadratic model is not likely to be appropriate for this data? (Hints: Where is the vertex of the parabola? What does this imply about the quadratic model’s prediction for years before 1780, the first year given in this dataset?)