NAG C Library Function Document

nag_prod_limit_surviv_fn (g12aac)


nag_prod_limit_surviv_fn (g12aac) computes the Kaplan–Meier, (or product-limit), estimates of survival probabilities for a sample of failure times.


#include <nag.h>
#include <nagg12.h>
void  nag_prod_limit_surviv_fn (Integer n, const double t[], const Integer ic[], const Integer freq[], Integer *nd, double tp[], double p[], double psig[], NagError *fail)


A survivor function, S t , is the probability of surviving to at least time t  with S t = 1 - F t , where F t  is the cumulative distribution function of the failure times. The Kaplan–Meier or product limit estimator provides an estimate of S t , S ^ t , from sample of failure times which may be progressively right-censored.
Let t i , i = 1 , 2 , , n d , be the ordered distinct failure times for the sample of observed failure/censored times, and let the number of observations in the sample that have not failed by time t i  be n i . If a failure and a loss (censored observation) occur at the same time t i , then the failure is treated as if it had occurred slightly before time t i  and the loss as if it had occurred slightly after t i .
The Kaplan–Meier estimate of the survival probabilities is a step function which in the interval t i  to t i+1  is given by
S ^ t = j=1 i n j - d j n j  
where d j  is the number of failures occurring at time t j .
nag_prod_limit_surviv_fn (g12aac) computes the Kaplan–Meier estimates and the corresponding estimates of the variances, var ^ S ^ t , using Greenwood's formula,
var ^ S ^ t = S ^ t 2 j=1 i d j n j n j - d j .  


Gross A J and Clark V A (1975) Survival Distributions: Reliability Applications in the Biomedical Sciences Wiley
Kalbfleisch J D and Prentice R L (1980) The Statistical Analysis of Failure Time Data Wiley


1:     n IntegerInput
On entry: the number of failure and censored times given in t.
Constraint: n2 .
2:     t[n] const doubleInput
On entry: the failure and censored times; these need not be ordered.
3:     ic[n] const IntegerInput
On entry: ic[i-1]  contains the censoring code of the i th observation, for i=1,2,,n.
ic[i-1] = 0
The i th observation is a failure time.
ic[i-1] = 1
The i th observation is right-censored.
Constraint: ic[i-1] = 0  or 1 , for i = 1 , 2 , , n .
4:     freq[n] const IntegerInput
On entry: indicates whether frequencies are provided for each failure and censored time point. If frequencies are provided then freq must be dimensioned at least n. If the failure and censored times are to be considered as single observations, i.e., a frequency of 1 is to be assumed then freq must be set to NULL.
Constraint: either freq = Integer * 0  or freq[i-1] 0 , for i=1,2,,n.
5:     nd Integer *Output
On exit: the number of distinct failure times, n d .
6:     tp[n] doubleOutput
On exit: tp[i-1]  contains the i th ordered distinct failure time, t i , for i=1,2,, n d .
7:     p[n] doubleOutput
On exit: p[i-1]  contains the Kaplan–Meier estimate of the survival probability, S ^ t , for time tp[i-1] , for i=1,2,, n d .
8:     psig[n] doubleOutput
On exit: psig[i-1]  contains an estimate of the standard deviation of p[i-1] , for i=1,2,, n d .
9:     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.
On entry, n=value.
Constraint: n2.
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.
On entry, ic[value] = value. The censor code for an observation must be either 0 or 1.
On entry, freq[value] = value. The value of frequency for an observation must be 0 .


The computations are believed to be stable.

Parallelism and Performance

nag_prod_limit_surviv_fn (g12aac) is not threaded in any implementation.

Further Comments

If there are no censored observations, S ^ t , reduces to the ordinary binomial estimate of the probability of survival at time t .


The remission times for a set of 21 leukaemia patients at 18 distinct time points are read in and the Kaplan–Meier estimate computed and printed. For further details see page 242 of Gross and Clark (1975).

Program Text

Program Text (g12aace.c)

Program Data

Program Data (g12aace.d)

Program Results

Program Results (g12aace.r)