Design of Experiments Guide > Nonlinear Designs > Overview of Nonlinear Designs
Publication date: 05/24/2021

# Overview of Nonlinear Designs

Construct designs to fit models that are nonlinear in their parameters using the Nonlinear Design platform. You can construct optimal designs or optimally augment existing data for nonlinear models. Nonlinear designs based on information that is descriptive of the underlying process can yield more accurate estimates of model parameters and prediction of process behavior than is possible with standard designs for polynomial models. For background on nonlinear models, see Nonlinear Models.

The efficiency of a design for a nonlinear model depends on the unknown values of the parameters that the design is intended to estimate. For this reason, JMP uses a Bayesian approach to construct designs that are efficient over a wide range of likely parameter values. You can specify a range of values for the unknown parameters and a distribution for the prior. The prior distribution choices include Uniform, Normal, Lognormal, and Exponential.

The Nonlinear Design platform uses a Bayesian approach, optimizing the design over a prior distribution of likely parameter values that you specify. The Bayesian D-optimality criterion is the expectation of the logarithm of the determinant of the information matrix with respect to a sample of parameter vectors that represents this prior probability distribution. The information matrix entries depend on the prediction variances at the design points. Little information is contributed by observations with low variance, where the response is almost certain. It follows that an optimal design places some design settings at high-variance points. See Gotwalt et al. (2009).

A principal of optimal design is that, over the feasible region of experimentation, the optimal design places points in locations with the highest variance of prediction. Though this may seem counter-intuitive, if an alternative design put points at other locations, the prediction variance at the design points of the optimal design would be even higher. For models that are linear in the parameters, the high-variance points tend to be at the vertices of the experimental region. But this is not necessarily true for models that are nonlinear in the parameters.

Note: Nonlinear designs are computed using a random starting design. For this reason, nonlinear designs that you obtain for identical specifications usually differ.

To use the Nonlinear Design platform, you must have an existing data table. That data table must contain the following:

A column for the response.

A column for each factor.

A column that contains a formula showing the relationship between the factors and the response. This formula must include the unknown parameters.

Note: This is the same format as is required for a data table used in the Nonlinear platform for modeling.

Your table can come in one of two forms:

It might be a template, containing only column information and no rows. See Create a Nonlinear Design with No Prior Data.

It might contain rows with predictor information. In this case, the predictor values are included in the nonlinear design. See Augment a Design Using Prior Data.