TCube: Domain-Agnostic Neural Time-series Narration

Sharma, Mandar, Brownstein, John S., Ramakrishnan, Naren

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence 

The task of generating rich and fluent narratives that aptly describe the characteristics, trends, and anomalies of time-series data is invaluable to the sciences (geology, meteorology, epidemiology) or finance (trades, stocks, or sales and inventory). The efforts for time-series narration hitherto are domain-specific and use predefined templates that offer consistency but lead to mechanical narratives. We present TCube (Time-series-to-text), a domain-agnostic neural framework for time-series narration, that couples the representation of essential time-series elements in the form of a dense knowledge graph and the translation of said knowledge graph into rich and fluent narratives through the transfer-learning capabilities of PLMs (Pre-trained Language Models). TCube's design primarily addresses the challenge that lies in building a neural framework in the complete paucity of annotated training data for time-series. The design incorporates knowledge graphs as an intermediary for the representation of essential time-series elements which can be linearized for textual translation. To the best of our knowledge, TCube is the first investigation of the use of neural strategies for time-series narration. Through extensive evaluations, we show that TCube can improve the lexical diversity of the generated narratives by up to 65.38% while still maintaining grammatical integrity. The practicality and deployability of TCube is further validated through an expert review (n=21) where 76.2% of participating experts wary of auto-generated narratives favored TCube as a deployable system for time-series narration due to its richer narratives. Our code-base, models, and datasets, with detailed instructions for reproducibility is publicly hosted at https://github.com/Mandar-Sharma/TCube.