# Generalised logistic function

The generalized logistic function or curve is an extension of the logistic or sigmoid functions. Originally developed for growth modelling, it allows for more flexible S-shaped curves. The function is sometimes named Richards's curve after F. J. Richards, who proposed the general form for the family of models in 1959.

## Definition

Richards's curve has the following form:

${\displaystyle Y(t)=A+{K-A \over (C+Qe^{-Bt})^{1/\nu }}}$

where ${\displaystyle Y}$ = weight, height, size etc., and ${\displaystyle t}$ = time. It has six parameters:

• ${\displaystyle A}$: the lower (left) asymptote;
• ${\displaystyle K}$: the upper (right) asymptote when ${\displaystyle C=1}$. If ${\displaystyle A=0}$ and ${\displaystyle C=1}$ then ${\displaystyle K}$ is called the carrying capacity;
• ${\displaystyle B}$: the growth rate;
• ${\displaystyle \nu >0}$ : affects near which asymptote maximum growth occurs.
• ${\displaystyle Q}$: is related to the value ${\displaystyle Y(0)}$
• ${\displaystyle C}$: typically takes a value of 1. Otherwise, the upper asymptote is ${\displaystyle A+{K-A \over C^{\,1/\nu }}}$

The equation can also be written:

${\displaystyle Y(t)=A+{K-A \over (C+e^{-B(t-M)})^{1/\nu }}}$

where ${\displaystyle M}$ can be thought of as a starting time, at which ${\displaystyle Y(M)=A+{K-A \over (C+1)^{1/\nu }}}$. Including both ${\displaystyle Q}$ and ${\displaystyle M}$ can be convenient:

${\displaystyle Y(t)=A+{K-A \over (C+Qe^{-B(t-M)})^{1/\nu }}}$

this representation simplifies the setting of both a starting time and the value of ${\displaystyle Y}$ at that time.

The logistic function, with maximum growth rate at time ${\displaystyle M}$, is the case where ${\displaystyle Q=\nu =1}$.

## Generalised logistic differential equation

A particular case of the generalised logistic function is:

${\displaystyle Y(t)={K \over (1+Qe^{-\alpha \nu (t-t_{0})})^{1/\nu }}}$

which is the solution of the Richards's differential equation (RDE):

${\displaystyle Y^{\prime }(t)=\alpha \left(1-\left({\frac {Y}{K}}\right)^{\nu }\right)Y}$

with initial condition

${\displaystyle Y(t_{0})=Y_{0}}$

where

${\displaystyle Q=-1+\left({\frac {K}{Y_{0}}}\right)^{\nu }}$

provided that ν > 0 and α > 0.

The classical logistic differential equation is a particular case of the above equation, with ν =1, whereas the Gompertz curve can be recovered in the limit ${\displaystyle \nu \rightarrow 0^{+}}$ provided that:

${\displaystyle \alpha =O\left({\frac {1}{\nu }}\right)}$

In fact, for small ν it is

${\displaystyle Y^{\prime }(t)=Yr{\frac {1-\exp \left(\nu \ln \left({\frac {Y}{K}}\right)\right)}{\nu }}\approx rY\ln \left({\frac {Y}{K}}\right)}$

The RDE models many growth phenomena, arising in fields such as oncology and epidemiology.

## Gradient of generalized logistic function

When estimating parameters from data, it is often necessary to compute the partial derivatives of the logistic function with respect to parameters at a given data point ${\displaystyle t}$ (see[1]). For the case where ${\displaystyle C=1}$,

{\displaystyle {\begin{aligned}\\{\frac {\partial Y}{\partial A}}&=1-(1+Qe^{-B(t-M)})^{-1/\nu }\\\\{\frac {\partial Y}{\partial K}}&=(1+Qe^{-B(t-M)})^{-1/\nu }\\\\{\frac {\partial Y}{\partial B}}&={\frac {(K-A)(t-M)Qe^{-B(t-M)}}{\nu (1+Qe^{-B(t-M)})^{{\frac {1}{\nu }}+1}}}\\\\{\frac {\partial Y}{\partial \nu }}&={\frac {(K-A)\ln(1+Qe^{-B(t-M)})}{\nu ^{2}(1+Qe^{-B(t-M)})^{\frac {1}{\nu }}}}\\\\{\frac {\partial Y}{\partial Q}}&=-{\frac {(K-A)e^{-B(t-M)}}{\nu (1+Qe^{-B(t-M)})^{{\frac {1}{\nu }}+1}}}\\\\{\frac {\partial Y}{\partial M}}&=-{\frac {(K-A)QBe^{-B(t-M)}}{\nu (1+Qe^{-B(t-M)})^{{\frac {1}{\nu }}+1}}}\\\end{aligned}}}

## Special cases

The following functions are specific cases of Richards's curves:

## Footnotes

1. ^ Fekedulegn, Desta; Mairitin P. Mac Siurtain; Jim J. Colbert (1999). "Parameter Estimation of Nonlinear Growth Models in Forestry" (PDF). Silva Fennica. 33 (4): 327–336. doi:10.14214/sf.653. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-05-31.

## References

• Richards, F. J. (1959). "A Flexible Growth Function for Empirical Use". Journal of Experimental Botany. 10 (2): 290–300. doi:10.1093/jxb/10.2.290.
• Pella, J. S.; Tomlinson, P. K. (1969). "A Generalised Stock-Production Model". Bull. Inter-Am. Trop. Tuna Comm. 13: 421–496.
• Lei, Y. C.; Zhang, S. Y. (2004). "Features and Partial Derivatives of Bertalanffy–Richards Growth Model in Forestry". Nonlinear Analysis: Modelling and Control. 9 (1): 65–73. doi:10.15388/NA.2004.9.1.15171.