Paraboloid fitting to get chi2 parameters uncertainties

Dear experts,

I have been working for some time on fitting a 2D histogram with a paraboloid in a certain range.
The problem is the following: I have a TH2F which consists of chi-square values in a two-parameter space. The x-axis is a shift applied to a histogram, and the y-axis are stretches. In theory, the chi2 value near the minimum should be a paraboloid (because we are working with two parameters) with this equation (sorry I write the equation this way, I dont know if the Forum supports LaTeX equations):

f(x, y; sigmax, sigmay) = a + 1/(1-rho^2) * ( ((x-x0)/sigmax)^2 + ((y-y0)/sigmay)^2 - 2 rho ((x-x0)/sigmax) ((y-y0)/sigmay) )

where rho = cov(x,y)/(sigmax*sigmay)

So, what I need to do is to fit a histogram (in the figure theres a simple example of the histogram) on a certain range using that equation, in order to get the sigmax and sigmay of the parameters

I used the TH1::Fit() method to fit the histogram, gave all the parameters very sensible starting values but the fit does not even gives the x0 and y0 parameters correctly.

This is the code I used:

double func(double *x, double *p){
	double value;

	double constant = p[0];
	double shift_term   = (x[0] - p[1])/p[2];
	double stretch_term = (x[1] - p[3])/p[4];
	double rho          = p[5]/(p[2]*p[4]);
	double c            = 1.0 - pow(rho, 2);

	double mix_term = -2. * rho * ( shift_term * stretch_term );

	value = constant + 1/c * (pow(shift_term,2) + pow(stretch_term,2) + mix_term);
	return value;

void GetXsqErrors(TH2F * hist)
	// Get minimum bin
	int shift_minBin, stretch_minBin, z_minBin;
	hist -> GetMinimumBin(shift_minBin, stretch_minBin, z_minBin);
	printf("min bin shift   = %d\n", shift_minBin);
	printf("min bin stretch = %d\n", stretch_minBin);

	// Get bin width in x and y
	double shift_bin_width   = hist->GetXaxis()->GetBinWidth(3);
	double stretch_bin_width = hist->GetYaxis()->GetBinWidth(3);
	printf("bin width shift   = %f\n", shift_bin_width);
	printf("bin width stretch = %f\n", stretch_bin_width);

	// Get bin center of minimum bin in x and y
	double shift_min_bin_center   = hist->GetXaxis()->GetBinCenter(shift_minBin);
	double stretch_min_bin_center = hist->GetYaxis()->GetBinCenter(stretch_minBin);
	printf("shift_min_bin_center   = %f\n", shift_min_bin_center);
	printf("stretch_min_bin_center = %f\n", stretch_min_bin_center);	

	// Fit range
	double shift_fit_range_min   = shift_min_bin_center - 10*shift_bin_width;
	double stretch_fit_range_min = stretch_min_bin_center - 20*stretch_bin_width;
	double shift_fit_range_max   = shift_min_bin_center + 10*shift_bin_width;
	double stretch_fit_range_max = stretch_min_bin_center + 20*stretch_bin_width;
	printf("shift_fit_range_min   = %f\n", shift_fit_range_min);
	printf("shift_fit_range_min   = %f\n", shift_fit_range_max);
	printf("stretch_fit_range_min = %f\n", stretch_fit_range_min);
	printf("stretch_fit_range_max = %f\n", stretch_fit_range_max);

	TF2 * myfit = new TF2("myfit", 
		shift_fit_range_min, shift_fit_range_max,
		stretch_fit_range_min, stretch_fit_range_max,

	cout << "Constant hist = " << hist->GetMinimum() << endl;
	cout << "x0 hist       = " << shift_min_bin_center << endl;
	cout << "sigma x hist  = " << hist->GetStdDev(1) << endl;
	cout << "y0 hist       = " << stretch_min_bin_center << endl;
	cout << "sigma y hist  = " << hist->GetStdDev(2) << endl;
	cout << "cov hist      = " << hist->GetCovariance() << endl;

	myfit -> SetParName(0, "Constant");
	myfit -> SetParameter(0, hist->GetMinimum());
	myfit -> SetParName(1, "x0");
	myfit -> SetParameter(1, shift_min_bin_center);
	myfit -> SetParName(2, "sigma_x");
	myfit -> SetParameter(2, hist->GetStdDev(1));
	myfit -> SetParName(3, "y0");
	myfit -> SetParameter(3, stretch_min_bin_center);
	myfit -> SetParName(4, "sigma_y");
	myfit -> SetParameter(4, hist->GetStdDev(2));
	myfit -> SetParName(5, "covariance");
	myfit -> SetParameter(5, hist->GetCovariance());

	// z = a0 + a1*x + a2*x^2 + a3*y + a4*y^2 + a5*x*y
	// myfit -> SetParName(0, "a0");
	// myfit -> SetParName(1, "a1");
	// myfit -> SetParName(2, "a2");
	// myfit -> SetParName(3, "a3");
	// myfit -> SetParName(4, "a4");
	// myfit -> SetParName(5, "a5");

	hist -> Fit(myfit, "R 0");

	double xmin;
	double ymin;
	// cout << "fit result = " << (int)r << endl;
	cout << "minimum value from fit  = " << myfit -> GetMinimumXY(xmin, ymin) << endl;
	cout << "minX value from fit  = " << xmin << endl;
	cout << "minY value from fit  = " << ymin << endl;

	cout << "minimum value from hist = " << hist -> GetMinimum() << endl;
	TCanvas * cfit_cont = new TCanvas("cfit_cont", "", 800, 600);
	hist -> Draw("cont3");
	myfit -> Draw("cont3 same");

void smearing () {
    // GetHistogram2D function is not important here, since it works well.
	TH2F* chiplot2d = GetHistogram2D();
	TCanvas * c1 = new TCanvas("c1", "", 800, 600);
	chiplot2d -> Draw("colz");

Using this previous code, this is the output I get

The fit is plotted in that subrange in red and the origina histogram in blue contours.

Also, if I change the initial histograms that I compare to compute the chi2 in order they give rise to different minimum values of shift and stretch, the fitting sometimes give good results and sometimes it doesnt, so it seems it’s very unstable. The histogram can be found in this attached file:
hist.root (144.8 KB)

So what I dont understand is why this fitting procedure is so unstable with changes in shift and stretch, and why it does not even give sensible results, this being a very simple problem, with a very good TH2F to fit in the interested range.
Also, if you happen to know an other method I could use to get the parameters uncertainties, e.g. using Roofit or contours fitting, it will be very appreciated if you can point me where I can look for that.

Thank you very much!

Hello @fsili,

I am inviting @moneta to this thread as he may be able to help you with this issue.


1 Like


The problem could be related to wrong initial parameter values. The sigma and sigma that you get from the histogram do not correspond to the sigmaX and sigmaY function parameters.
You should be able to get from the histogram good estimates of those two parameters and use as initial fit values.
Then, when fitting an histogram it is assumed that each bin has a statistical uncertainty equal to sqrt(bin_content). Is this the case for your histogram ? If not maybe something else should be used.
How is this histogram obtained and what is your goal ? This is not 100% clear to me

Best regards



Thank you very much for your response.

Sorry I wasn’t so clear before. The problem is the following. I have two histograms and then I obtain their PDFs. These original histograms have different widths and different mean, that is, one of them is narrower (or wider) and it’s also shifted from the other one. What I need to do is to find the optimal shift and stretches in order that these two histograms match (of course they will never match exactly, but I want the best possible match). Let’s call them fixed histogram and variable histogram, since I will only shift and stretch one of them.
I don’t think I can actually post the piece of code doing this, as it’s not mine, but I can say the overall procedure of it. What I do is to apply a shift and stretch to the variable histogram and then compute the chi2 between 2 histograms. The chi2 function used is

double getXsq(TH1* fixedHist, TH1* varHist, int bins_shifted) {
	int lastFixedBin = fixedHist -> GetNbinsX();
	double xSq = 0.;
	double fixedNormalization = fixedHist -> Integral(2, lastFixedBin-2);
	double varNormalization   = varHist -> Integral(2, lastFixedBin-2);
	double norm = varNormalization / fixedNormalization;

	for(int bin = 3 ; bin < lastDataBin-3; bin++)
		double approxError = sqrt(varHist->GetBinContent(bin - bins_shifted) + fixedHist->GetBinContent(bin)*norm*norm);
		if (fixedHist->GetBinContent(bin) == 0) continue;
		if (approxError == 0) continue;
		xSq = xSq + (fixedHist->GetBinContent(bin)*norm - varHist->GetBinContent(bin-bins_shifted))*
					(fixedHist->GetBinContent(bin)*norm - varHist->GetBinContent(bin-bins_shifted)) / (approxError*approxError);
	return xSq;

Then, the histogram is filled giving the one I posted previously.

How can I get those? In the post I used the GetStdDev function in the corresponding direction but I don’t know any other alternative…

One thing that may be important to mention is that I did not set TH2::SetDefaultSumw2(kTRUE). When I set this, the fit doesn’t work and rises a warning Warning in <Fit>: Fit data is empty. Then, I checked the histogram and the bin error is zero at every bin. Why is this happening? Shouldn’t the bin errors be equal to the sqrt of the sum of weights when I set this? In this case, should I use the W option in the fit?

Not setting TH2::SetDefaultSumw2(kTRUE) I get errors in every bin, each of them equal to sqrt(bin content). I think I must be misunderstanding how TH2::SetDefaultSumw2(kTRUE) works, because I get the inverse behaviour as I would expect…

Maybe I should not set TH2::SetDefaultSumw2(kTRUE) and continue fitting as I was doing before, or should I set sumw2 to True and use the W option?

I also tried using GetStdDev() within the fit range an it gives better estimates for the sigmas (using the whole range sigmaX ~ 1.3, and using the fit range sigmaX ~ 0.27). However, the fit continues failing.

Moreover, I used initial sigmaX and sigmaY values of 0.1 and the fitting converges and works well. Nevertheless, that is not general, as I would use other histograms and it may fail…

Thank you very much! And sorry for this long answer…


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