LogNormal-Distribution - how to set mu and sigma



Hey there! I’m trying to draw random numbers from a Log-Normal distribution with a given mean and standard-deviation. As far as i know, the LogNormal(\mu \sigma) lets you set the mean and standard deviation of the distribution. I am not really clear however, if I should feed the function with log(valuex) or just with value x, for either mu or sigma. I’m not so sure, what the documentation tries to explain (maybe it’s lack of maths…). it states:

LogNormal(mu, sig) # Log-normal distribution with log-mean mu and scale sig

So how do I do this? Say, I want to use x as mean and y as scale, do I draw from LogNormal(log(x), y)? In R I would use the log(x), but how about Julia? Thanks so much!


You have to calculate μ if you want a given mean. See the wikipedia page of about the lognormal. For example, you could do

using Distributions

μ_for_mean(m, σ) = log(m) - σ^2/2

m = 2
σ = 0.5
d = LogNormal(μ_for_mean(m, σ), σ)

mean(d) ≈ m                     # voila


Thanks! That answers my question nicely :slight_smile: one of topic question: how did you make the mu ign a mu sign? I tried \mu but that didn’t work… Thanks again!


Press [TAB] after \mu in the REPL (I actually made it in Emacs though, using company-math). See unicode input.


Thanks! :slight_smile:


Notice that σ is not the standard deviation of the LogNormal distribution, e.g.

julia> std(LogNormal(0,1))

so if your inputs are the mean and standard deviation then the problem of finding μ and σ is a bit harder since there is no closed form solution. I actually had to do this recently and ended up doing something like

julia> f = (θ, lm) -> norm([θ[1] + θ[2]^2/2 - lm[1], log(exp(θ[2]^2) - 1) + 2*θ[1] + θ[2]^2 - lm[2]])^2
(::#71) (generic function with 1 method)

julia> LogNormal(Optim.minimizer(optimize(t -> f(t, log.([1, 1])), [1.0, 1.0], BFGS()))...) |> t -> (mean(t), std(t))
(1.0000000001643707, 1.000000000094841)

Notice that solving for the logarithm of the mean and standard deviations works much better that solving for the untransformed variables.


Thanks so much! I ended up using the definitions given for μ and σ on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Log-normal_distribution), like follows:

hind=Array{Float64,1}(ParVal[2:end, 4])
gind=Array{Float64,1}(ParVal[2:end, 5])
μgindunique=log(meangindunique) - σgindunique^2/2

The .txt contains the data I’m using the get the distribution, I didn’t think it would be necessary to give mock-data so you can copy what I did, but rather to illustrate, how I calculated μ and σ.
For me, it seems similar to what you did (?), but I’m not familiar with the Optim.minimizer function you used. However, my supervisor agreed on my calculation, so I guess, for my purposes it works.
Thank you anyways! :slight_smile:


Ha. Thanks for the correction. Indeed that is the closed form solution for σ and μ.


Yeah for Wikipedia and an interest in maths :wink: