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I just learned how to find the exponential function that approximates a dataset by taking the logarithm of the data points, doing a linear regression on that data, then working out the exponential equation from that.

This is very clever. Who invented this technique?

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Clever perhaps, but often not a good idea. See for example en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonlinear_regression#Linearization or cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/weblog/491.html for some words of warning. –  Hans Lundmark Jun 21 '11 at 6:05

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The wikipedia article on regression analysis contains a decent description of the history of the technique and it's worth checking out.

Is there any other reasons you might be interested with this?

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Thanks, I read through the 'history' section. It gives a general overview of regression, but I didn't see any mention of who specifically first thought of taking the logarithm of an approximately-exponential dataset in order to be able to do a linear regression on that. Any idea who that was? –  Paul Legato Jun 21 '11 at 0:27
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The idea of taking logarithms to make some things linear is actually really old. So many scales are actually logarithmic (sounds, luminosity, energy, information) that it doesn't look like this would be noticed (the use of regression though would). –  David Kohler Jun 21 '11 at 23:46

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