Quickest implementation of Logistic Regression in MS Excel


  1. Many free online resources1 explain Logistic regression far better than I ever could in a single post. At the outset, I’ll assume you are very familiar with Logistic regression.

  2. I love that Logistic regression can be implemented so simply in a Spreadsheet. My intent is to post about, what in my opinion is, the quickest implementation of Logistic regression in MS Excel with this Exercise published by Stanford.

  3. Input: The dataset represents scores of Exam1 (x₁) and Exam2 (x₂) of 40 students admitted (y = 1) to college and 40 students who were not admitted (y = 0).

  4. You can download the dataset or the entire excel file to follow along. SSolution

  5. Insert x₀: To begin. Copy input data (x₁, x₂ and y) to excel and then insert a column x₀ before x₁ in which all rows equal 1.

  6. Name Ranges 2: create 4 Name ranges.
    • columns x₀, x₁ and x₂ together become \(x\).
    • column y is named \(y\).
    • create a 3 cell range called \(w\)
    • finally name a single cell \(j\)
  7. Cost Function: Next, we’ll implement the Cost Function3 in name range \(j\). \(\frac1{m}\sum\left[ -y \log(\frac1{1+e^{-w^{T}x}}) - (1-y)\log(1-\frac1{1+e^{-w^{T}x}})\right]\)

  8. Since LET formula 4 un-nests excel formula to make them more readable. We’ll use it to implement cost function.

    I posted earlier about LET4 function which is linked below.

  9. At this point, we could implement gradient descent using VBA or MS Excel’s iterative calculations. Instead, we’ll use Excel’s solver function which is quicker to implement and faster in calculation.
    • Since the cost function is non-linear - we use the Generalized Reduced Gradient (GRG) Nonlinear Solving method.
  10. Here’s how you implement Solver (you must have solver Add-in enabled) solver
    • Navigate Data > Solver
    • Set Objevtive = J
    • TO Min
    • by changing variable cells = w
    • uncheck Make unconstrained variables non-negative
    • Select a solving method = GRG NonLinear
    • Click Solve
    • Click OK
  11. Excel’s solution for the weights (w₀, w₁, w₂) is identical to the result at orginal source
    • w₀ = -16.375
    • w₁ = +00.148
    • w₂ = +00.158

So, there it is. Logistic regression implemented with One formula and solver function.