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Enhancing the Locality and Breaking the Memory Bottleneck of Transformer on Time Series Forecasting

Neural Information Processing Systems

Time series forecasting is an important problem across many domains, including predictions of solar plant energy output, electricity consumption, and traffic jam situation. In this paper, we propose to tackle such forecasting problem with Transformer. Although impressed by its performance in our preliminary study, we found its two major weaknesses: (1) locality-agnostics: the point-wise dot- product self-attention in canonical Transformer architecture is insensitive to local context, which can make the model prone to anomalies in time series; (2) memory bottleneck: space complexity of canonical Transformer grows quadratically with sequence length L, making directly modeling long time series infeasible. In order to solve these two issues, we first propose convolutional self-attention by producing queries and keys with causal convolution so that local context can be better incorporated into attention mechanism. Then, we propose LogSparse Transformer with only O(L(log L) 2) memory cost, improving forecasting accuracy for time series with fine granularity and strong long-term dependencies under constrained memory budget.


You May Not Need Order in Time Series Forecasting

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Time series forecasting with limited data is a challenging yet critical task. While transformers have achieved outstanding performances in time series forecasting, they often require many training samples due to the large number of trainable parameters. In this paper, we propose a training technique for transformers that prepares the training windows through random sampling. As input time steps need not be consecutive, the number of distinct samples increases from linearly to combinatorially many. By breaking the temporal order, this technique also helps transformers to capture dependencies among time steps in finer granularity. We achieve competitive results compared to the state-of-the-art on real-world datasets.


A Memory-Network Based Solution for Multivariate Time-Series Forecasting

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Multivariate time series forecasting is extensively studied throughout the years with ubiquitous applications in areas such as finance, traffic, environment, etc. Still, concerns have been raised on traditional methods for incapable of modeling complex patterns or dependencies lying in real word data. To address such concerns, various deep learning models, mainly Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) based methods, are proposed. Nevertheless, capturing extremely long-term patterns while effectively incorporating information from other variables remains a challenge for time-series forecasting. Furthermore, lack-of-explainability remains one serious drawback for deep neural network models. Inspired by Memory Network proposed for solving the question-answering task, we propose a deep learning based model named Memory Time-series network (MTNet) for time series forecasting. MTNet consists of a large memory component, three separate encoders, and an autoregressive component to train jointly. Additionally, the attention mechanism designed enable MTNet to be highly interpretable. We can easily tell which part of the historic data is referenced the most.


Generating Long Sequences with Sparse Transformers

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Transformers are powerful sequence models, but require time and memory that grows quadratically with the sequence length. In this paper we introduce sparse factorizations of the attention matrix which reduce this to $O(n \sqrt{n})$. We also introduce a) a variation on architecture and initialization to train deeper networks, b) the recomputation of attention matrices to save memory, and c) fast attention kernels for training. We call networks with these changes Sparse Transformers, and show they can model sequences tens of thousands of timesteps long using hundreds of layers. We use the same architecture to model images, audio, and text from raw bytes, setting a new state of the art for density modeling of Enwik8, CIFAR-10, and ImageNet-64. We generate unconditional samples that demonstrate global coherence and great diversity, and show it is possible in principle to use self-attention to model sequences of length one million or more.


Adaptive Transformers in RL

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Recent developments in Transformers have opened new interesting areas of research in partially observable reinforcement learning tasks. Results from late 2019 showed that Transformers are able to outperform LSTMs on both memory intense and reactive tasks. In this work we first partially replicate the results shown in Stabilizing Transformers in RL on both reactive and memory based environments. We then show performance improvement coupled with reduced computation when adding adaptive attention span to this Stable Transformer on a challenging DMLab30 environment.