# Gap in a continuous plot

Why do I get a gap in the plot below and how can I fix it? (If you are interested in it, you can see a new related question: How to plot an implicit value funtion, which is also a little chanlenging)

Code:

Plot[InverseFunction[
1 - 0.6*CDF[NormalDistribution[1, 0.3], #] -
0.4*CDF[NormalDistribution[3, 0.3], #] &][x], {x, 0, 1},
PlotRange -> All, Exclusions -> None]


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• Based on algohi's and a.g.'s answers I have tagged this with the bugs tag. Jan 2, 2015 at 10:15
• @SjoerdC.deVries,Hi Sjoerd, do you know how to report this bug to Wolfram? Thanks a lot.
– ben
Jan 2, 2015 at 17:24
• @ben : from Mathematica menus : Help -- Give feedback
– A.G.
Jan 2, 2015 at 18:00
• [email protected] should work. Jan 3, 2015 at 0:39

The function you wish to plot happens to be the InverseSurvivalFunction of a MixtureDistribution with component distributions NormalDistribution[1, 0.3] and NormalDistribution[3, 0.3], and weights .6 and .4, respectively.

Using the built-in functions MixtureDistribution and InverseSurvivalFunction we get the desired result without an issue:

dist = MixtureDistribution[{6, 4}, {NormalDistribution[1, 0.3], NormalDistribution[3, 0.3]}];
Plot[InverseSurvivalFunction[dist, x], {x, 0, 1}]


You can also use InverseCDF to get the same output:

Plot[InverseCDF[dist, 1 - x], {x, 0, 1}]
(* same picture *)


I do need to characterize D[x*InverseSurvivalFunction[dist, x], x]

Using the product rule and the inverse function theorem, you can define

derivative[x_] := (InverseSurvivalFunction[dist, y] +
(x/(D[1 - CDF[dist, y], y] /. y -> InverseSurvivalFunction[dist, y]))) /. y -> x;

Column[Plot[#, {x, 0, 1}, ImageSize -> 400] & /@
{x InverseSurvivalFunction[dist, x], Evaluate@derivative[x]}]


• It's very helpful. Btw, can we do operations on InverseSurvialFunction, like D[x*InverseSurvivalFunction[dist, x], x]? It seems it doesn't work. Thanks!
– ben
Jan 2, 2015 at 22:24
• @ben, for the mixture distribution dist, D[x*InverseSurvivalFunction[dist, x], x] and D[x*InverseCDF[dist, 1-x], x] do not work; but they do work for "simpler" distributions: for example, D[InverseCDF[NormalDistribution[0, 1], x], x] and D[InverseSurvivalFunction[NormalDistribution[0, 1], x], x].
– kglr
Jan 2, 2015 at 23:07
• I do need to characterize D[x*InverseSurvivalFunction[dist, x], x]. Do you have any suggestions which can remove the gap and also keep doing the derivation? Thanks.
– ben
Jan 2, 2015 at 23:14
• @ben, since we do get a closed form solution for D[1 - CDF[dist, x], x], maybe you can use Inverse Function Theorem? For example, (1/(D[1 - CDF[dist, x], x] /. x -> InverseSurvivalFunction[dist, x])) /. x -> .5 gives -2.00119.
– kglr
Jan 2, 2015 at 23:50
• @ben, please see the update...
– kglr
Jan 3, 2015 at 0:32

You have complex numbers as a result in these ranges.

Check this:

Table[{i,
InverseFunction[
1 - 0.6*CDF[NormalDistribution[1, 0.3], #] -
0.4*CDF[NormalDistribution[3, 0.3], #] &][i]}, {i, 0, 1, 0.01}]


The problem seems to be generated internally because of the real number in the function and also because of the fact that the plot uses a real number when sampling points for the plot. To see this behavior, look at these evolutions:

N[InverseFunction[
1 - 6/10*CDF[NormalDistribution[1, 3/10], #] -
4/10*CDF[NormalDistribution[3, 3/10], #] &][3/10]]

(*2.79765*)

InverseFunction[
1 - 6/10*CDF[NormalDistribution[1, 3/10], #] -
4/10*CDF[NormalDistribution[3, 3/10], #] &][0.3]

(*1.47655 + 0.475155 I*)

• Yes, you are right. How to fix it? Thanks.
– ben
Jan 2, 2015 at 6:33
• ... complex roots are surprising, there are clearly real inverses. Could it be an issue with InverseFunction?
– A.G.
Jan 2, 2015 at 7:27
• I have no idea. Maybe you are right. I will report it to Wolfram. Thanks!
– ben
Jan 2, 2015 at 17:28

We get a little insight to the "bug" by writing the CDF in terms of Erfc:

 InverseFunction[
1 - 0.6*CDF[NormalDistribution[1, 0.3], #] -
0.4*CDF[NormalDistribution[3, 0.3], #] &][.3]
InverseFunction[
1 - 0.6 1/2 Erfc[2.3570226039551585 (1 - #)] -
0.4 1/2 Erfc[2.3570226039551585 (3 - #)] &][.3]


1.47655 + 0.475155 I

1.47655 + 0.475155 I

(1 - 0.6*1/2 Erfc[2.3570226039551585 (1 - #)] -
0.4*1/2 Erfc[2.3570226039551585 (3 - #)]) &@%


0.3 - 4.85056*10^-16 I

we see that while CDF can not take an imaginary argument, Erfc can and the erroneous result is indeed a complex valued inverse of the function.

## Edit -- a fix

it turns out we can use ConditionalExpression to force selection of a real inverse:

 Plot[ InverseFunction[
ConditionalExpression[
1 - 0.6*CDF[NormalDistribution[1, 0.3], #] -
0.4*CDF[NormalDistribution[3, 0.3], #], Element[#, Reals] ] &] @
x , {x, 0, 1}]


• Thanks a lot. Btw, can we do operations it, like Plot[D[x*InverseFunction[ ConditionalExpression[ 1 - 0.6*CDF[NormalDistribution[1, 0.3], #] - 0.4*CDF[NormalDistribution[3, 0.3], #], Element[#, Reals]] &]@ x, x], {x, 0, 1}] It seems it doesn't work. Thanks!
– ben
Jan 2, 2015 at 22:42
f[x_] = 1 -
0.6*CDF[NormalDistribution[1, 0.3], x] -
0.4*CDF[NormalDistribution[3, 0.3], x];

ParametricPlot[{f[x], x}, {x, -1, 3},
AspectRatio -> 1/GoldenRatio]


• Hi Bob, Thanks for your help. I will frequently use this function in the later analysis and same problem occurs in more complex functions.
– ben
Jan 2, 2015 at 17:26

To start with, this should not be a problem for Mathematica. The non-inverse function is reasonably well-behaved:

f[u_] := 1-0.6 CDF[NormalDistribution[1, 0.3], u] - 0.4 CDF[NormalDistribution[3, 0.3], u];
Plot[f[u], {u, -1, 5}]


(and one can verify, plotting or otherwise, that f' remains $<0$ so that f is 1-to-1). All I can suggest is to increase PlotPoints:

g = InverseFunction[f];
Plot[g[x], {x, 0, 1}, PlotRange -> {0, 4}, PlotPoints -> 30000]


nearly fills the gap around .3 but does nothing below .2, and takes over 400 sec here :(.

You may want to report it to Wolfram.

• You could try increasing MaxRecursion instead of this huge number of points, might help a bit. Jan 2, 2015 at 10:12
• LOL so many plot points. Jan 2, 2015 at 15:01
• @SjoerdC.deVries The plot starts getting a bit better at 10000 points, there is a definite improvement between 20k and 30k. MaxRecursion->5 did not help.
– A.G.
Jan 2, 2015 at 17:58