We propose a novel sequence prediction method for sequential data capturing node traversals in graphs. Our method builds on a statistical modelling framework that combines multiple higher-order network models into a single multi-order model. We develop a technique to fit such multi-order models in empirical sequential data and to select the optimal maximum order. Our framework facilitates both next-element and full sequence prediction given a sequence-prefix of any length. We evaluate our model based on six empirical data sets containing sequences from website navigation as well as public transport systems. The results show that our method outperforms state-of-the-art algorithms for next-element prediction. We further demonstrate the accuracy of our method during out-of-sample sequence prediction and validate that our method can scale to data sets with millions of sequences. The analysis of data on complex networks provides essential insights into the structure and dynamics of social, technical, and biological systems. Apart from data that capture the topology of networked systems, i.e., which elements are directly connected via links, we increasingly have access to time-resolved, sequential data on paths or trajectories in networks. Examples include clickstream data generated by users who follow hyperlinks in information networks, data on information cascades propagating along friendship relations in online social networks, or temporal data capturing the travel routes of passengers in a transportation network.
In evolving complex systems such as air traffic and social organizations, collective effects emerge from their many components' dynamic interactions. While the dynamic interactions can be represented by temporal networks with nodes and links that change over time, they remain highly complex. It is therefore often necessary to use methods that extract the temporal networks' large-scale dynamic community structure. However, such methods are subject to overfitting or suffer from effects of arbitrary, a priori imposed timescales, which should instead be extracted from data. Here we simultaneously address both problems and develop a principled data-driven method that determines relevant timescales and identifies patterns of dynamics that take place on networks as well as shape the networks themselves. We base our method on an arbitrary-order Markov chain model with community structure, and develop a nonparametric Bayesian inference framework that identifies the simplest such model that can explain temporal interaction data.
Users form information trails as they browse the web, checkin with a geolocation, rate items, or consume media. A common problem is to predict what a user might do next for the purposes of guidance, recommendation, or prefetching. First-order and higher-order Markov chains have been widely used methods to study such sequences of data. First-order Markov chains are easy to estimate, but lack accuracy when history matters. Higher-order Markov chains, in contrast, have too many parameters and suffer from overfitting the training data. Fitting these parameters with regularization and smoothing only offers mild improvements. In this paper we propose the retrospective higher-order Markov process (RHOMP) as a low-parameter model for such sequences. This model is a special case of a higher-order Markov chain where the transitions depend retrospectively on a single history state instead of an arbitrary combination of history states. There are two immediate computational advantages: the number of parameters is linear in the order of the Markov chain and the model can be fit to large state spaces. Furthermore, by providing a specific structure to the higher-order chain, RHOMPs improve the model accuracy by efficiently utilizing history states without risks of overfitting the data. We demonstrate how to estimate a RHOMP from data and we demonstrate the effectiveness of our method on various real application datasets spanning geolocation data, review sequences, and business locations. The RHOMP model uniformly outperforms higher-order Markov chains, Kneser-Ney regularization, and tensor factorizations in terms of prediction accuracy.
We introduce LAMP: the Linear Additive Markov Process. Transitions in LAMP may be influenced by states visited in the distant history of the process, but unlike higher-order Markov processes, LAMP retains an efficient parametrization. LAMP also allows the specific dependence on history to be learned efficiently from data. We characterize some theoretical properties of LAMP, including its steady-state and mixing time. We then give an algorithm based on alternating minimization to learn LAMP models from data. Finally, we perform a series of real-world experiments to show that LAMP is more powerful than first-order Markov processes, and even holds its own against deep sequential models (LSTMs) with a negligible increase in parameter complexity.
This paper proposes an approach to classification of adjacent segments of a time series as being either of classes. We use a hierarchical model that consists of a feature extraction stage and a generative classifier which is built on top of these features. Such two stage approaches are often used in signal and image processing. The novel part of our work is that we link these stages probabilistically by using a latent feature space. To use one joint model is a Bayesian requirement, which has the advantage to fuse information according to its certainty.