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

arXiv.org Machine Learning

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 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 the time series forecasting in finer granularity under constrained memory budget. Our experiments on both synthetic data and real-world datasets show that it compares favorably to the state-of-the-art.


Deep Transformer Models for Time Series Forecasting: The Influenza Prevalence Case

arXiv.org Machine Learning

In this paper, we present a new approach to time series forecasting. Time series data are prevalent in many scientific and engineering disciplines. Time series forecasting is a crucial task in modeling time series data, and is an important area of machine learning. In this work we developed a novel method that employs Transformer-based machine learning models to forecast time series data. This approach works by leveraging self-attention mechanisms to learn complex patterns and dynamics from time series data. Moreover, it is a generic framework and can be applied to univariate and multivariate time series data, as well as time series embeddings. Using influenza-like illness (ILI) forecasting as a case study, we show that the forecasting results produced by our approach are favorably comparable to the state-of-the-art.


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 Transformer with Interleaved Self-attention and Convolution for Hybrid Acoustic Models

arXiv.org Machine Learning

ABSTRACT Transformer with self-attention has achieved great success in the area of nature language processing. Recently, there have been a few studies on transformer for end-to-end speech recognition, while its application for hybrid acoustic model is still very limited. In this paper, we revisit the transformer-based hybrid acoustic model, and propose a model structure with interleaved self-attention and 1D convolution, which is proven to have faster convergence and higher recognition accuracy. We also study several aspects of the transformer model, including the impact of the positional encoding feature, dropout regularization, as well as training with and without time restriction. We show competitive recognition results on the public Librispeech dataset when compared to the Kaldi baseline at both cross entropy training and sequence training stages. For reproducible research, we release our source code and recipe within the PyKaldi2 toolbox.


An Improved Relative Self-Attention Mechanism for Transformer with Application to Music Generation

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Music relies heavily on self-reference to build structure and meaning. We explore the Transformer architecture (Vaswani et al., 2017) as a generative model for music, as self-attention has shown compelling results on tasks that require long-term structure such as Wikipedia summary generation (Liu et al, 2018). However, timing information is critical for polyphonic music, and Transformer does not explicitly model absolute or relative timing in its structure. To address this challenge, Shaw et al. (2018) introduced relative position representations to self-attention to improve machine translation. However, the formulation was not scalable to longer sequences. We propose an improved formulation which reduces the memory requirements of the relative position computation from $O(l^2d)$ to $O(ld)$, making it possible to train much longer sequences and achieve faster convergence. In experiments on symbolic music we find that relative self-attention substantially improves sample quality for unconditioned generation and is able to generate sequences of lengths longer than those from the training set. When primed with an initial sequence, the model generates continuations that develop the prime coherently and exhibit long-term structure. Relative self-attention can be instrumental in capturing richer relationships within a musical piece.