NAG C Library Function Document

nag_prob_von_mises (g01erc)


nag_prob_von_mises (g01erc) returns the probability associated with the lower tail of the von Mises distribution between -π and π .


#include <nag.h>
#include <nagg01.h>
double  nag_prob_von_mises (double t, double vk, NagError *fail)


The von Mises distribution is a symmetric distribution used in the analysis of circular data. The lower tail area of this distribution on the circle with mean direction μ0=0 and concentration parameter kappa, κ, can be written as
PrΘθ:κ=12πI0κ -πθeκcosΘdΘ,  
where θ is reduced modulo 2π so that -πθ<π and κ0. Note that if θ=π then nag_prob_von_mises (g01erc) returns a probability of 1. For very small κ the distribution is almost the uniform distribution, whereas for κ all the probability is concentrated at one point.
The method of calculation for small κ involves backwards recursion through a series expansion in terms of modified Bessel functions, while for large κ an asymptotic Normal approximation is used.
In the case of small κ the series expansion of Pr(Θθ: κ) can be expressed as
PrΘθ:κ=12+θ 2π +1πI0κ n=1n-1Inκsinnθ,  
where Inκ is the modified Bessel function. This series expansion can be represented as a nested expression of terms involving the modified Bessel function ratio Rn,
Rnκ=Inκ In-1κ ,  n=1,2,3,,  
which is calculated using backwards recursion.
For large values of κ (see Section 7) an asymptotic Normal approximation is used. The angle Θ is transformed to the nearly Normally distributed variate Z,
bκ=2π eκ I0κ  
and bκ is computed from a continued fraction approximation. An approximation to order κ-4 of the asymptotic normalizing series for z is then used. Finally the Normal probability integral is evaluated.
For a more detailed analysis of the methods used see Hill (1977).


Hill G W (1977) Algorithm 518: Incomplete Bessel function I0: The Von Mises distribution ACM Trans. Math. Software 3 279–284
Mardia K V (1972) Statistics of Directional Data Academic Press


1:     t doubleInput
On entry: θ, the observed von Mises statistic measured in radians.
2:     vk doubleInput
On entry: the concentration parameter κ, of the von Mises distribution.
Constraint: vk0.0.
3:     fail NagError *Input/Output
The NAG error argument (see Section 3.7 in How to Use the NAG Library and its Documentation).

Error Indicators and Warnings

Dynamic memory allocation failed.
See Section in How to Use the NAG Library and its Documentation for further information.
An internal error has occurred in this function. Check the function call and any array sizes. If the call is correct then please contact NAG for assistance.
See Section 2.7.6 in How to Use the NAG Library and its Documentation for further information.
Your licence key may have expired or may not have been installed correctly.
See Section 2.7.5 in How to Use the NAG Library and its Documentation for further information.
On entry, vk=value.
Constraint: vk0.0.


nag_prob_von_mises (g01erc) uses one of two sets of constants depending on the value of machine precision. One set gives an accuracy of six digits and uses the Normal approximation when vk6.5, the other gives an accuracy of 12 digits and uses the Normal approximation when vk50.0.

Parallelism and Performance

nag_prob_von_mises (g01erc) is not threaded in any implementation.

Further Comments

Using the series expansion for small κ the time taken by nag_prob_von_mises (g01erc) increases linearly with κ; for larger κ, for which the asymptotic Normal approximation is used, the time taken is much less.
If angles outside the region -πθ<π are used care has to be taken in evaluating the probability of being in a region θ1θθ2 if the region contains an odd multiple of π, 2n+1π. The value of Fθ2;κ-Fθ1;κ will be negative and the correct probability should then be obtained by adding one to the value.


This example inputs four values from the von Mises distribution along with the values of the parameter κ. The probabilities are computed and printed.

Program Text

Program Text (g01erce.c)

Program Data

Program Data (g01erce.d)

Program Results

Program Results (g01erce.r)