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Forecasting: theory and practice

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Forecasting has always been at the forefront of decision making and planning. The uncertainty that surrounds the future is both exciting and challenging, with individuals and organisations seeking to minimise risks and maximise utilities. The large number of forecasting applications calls for a diverse set of forecasting methods to tackle real-life challenges. This article provides a non-systematic review of the theory and the practice of forecasting. We provide an overview of a wide range of theoretical, state-of-the-art models, methods, principles, and approaches to prepare, produce, organise, and evaluate forecasts. We then demonstrate how such theoretical concepts are applied in a variety of real-life contexts. We do not claim that this review is an exhaustive list of methods and applications. However, we wish that our encyclopedic presentation will offer a point of reference for the rich work that has been undertaken over the last decades, with some key insights for the future of forecasting theory and practice. Given its encyclopedic nature, the intended mode of reading is non-linear. We offer cross-references to allow the readers to navigate through the various topics. We complement the theoretical concepts and applications covered by large lists of free or open-source software implementations and publicly-available databases.


Utilizing Textual Reviews in Latent Factor Models for Recommender Systems

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Most of the existing recommender systems are based only on the rating data, and they ignore other sources of information that might increase the quality of recommendations, such as textual reviews, or user and item characteristics. Moreover, the majority of those systems are applicable only on small datasets (with thousands of observations) and are unable to handle large datasets (with millions of observations). We propose a recommender algorithm that combines a rating modelling technique (i.e., Latent Factor Model) with a topic modelling method based on textual reviews (i.e., Latent Dirichlet Allocation), and we extend the algorithm such that it allows adding extra user- and item-specific information to the system. We evaluate the performance of the algorithm using Amazon.com datasets with different sizes, corresponding to 23 product categories. After comparing the built model to four other models we found that combining textual reviews with ratings leads to better recommendations. Moreover, we found that adding extra user and item features to the model increases its prediction accuracy, which is especially true for medium and large datasets.


The Top 100 Software Companies of 2021

#artificialintelligence

The Software Report is pleased to announce The Top 100 Software Companies of 2021. This year's awardee list is comprised of a wide range of companies from the most well-known such as Microsoft, Adobe, and Salesforce to the relatively newer but rapidly growing - Qualtrics, Atlassian, and Asana. A good number of awardees may be new names to some but that should be no surprise given software has always been an industry of startups that seemingly came out of nowhere to create and dominate a new space. Software has become the backbone of our economy. From large enterprises to small businesses, most all rely on software whether for accounting, marketing, sales, supply chain, or a myriad of other functions. Software has become the dominant industry of our time and as such, we place a significance on highlighting the best companies leading the industry forward. The following awardees were nominated and selected based on a thorough evaluation process. Among the key criteria considered were ...


The Role of Social Movements, Coalitions, and Workers in Resisting Harmful Artificial Intelligence and Contributing to the Development of Responsible AI

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

There is mounting public concern over the influence that AI based systems has in our society. Coalitions in all sectors are acting worldwide to resist hamful applications of AI. From indigenous people addressing the lack of reliable data, to smart city stakeholders, to students protesting the academic relationships with sex trafficker and MIT donor Jeffery Epstein, the questionable ethics and values of those heavily investing in and profiting from AI are under global scrutiny. There are biased, wrongful, and disturbing assumptions embedded in AI algorithms that could get locked in without intervention. Our best human judgment is needed to contain AI's harmful impact. Perhaps one of the greatest contributions of AI will be to make us ultimately understand how important human wisdom truly is in life on earth.


Climate Researchers Enlist Big Cloud Providers for Big Data Challenges

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

And the shift hasn't gone unnoticed by the Big Three cloud providers. AWS and others offer subscription-based remote data storage and online tools, and researchers say they can be an affordable alternative to setting up and maintaining their own hardware. The cloud's added computing power can also make it easier for researchers to run machine-learning algorithms designed to identify patterns and extract insights from vast amounts of climate data, for instance, on ocean temperatures and rainfall patterns, as well as decades' worth of satellite imagery. "The data sets are getting larger and larger," said Werner Vogels, chief technology officer of Amazon.com Inc. "So machine learning starts to play a more important role to look for patterns in the data."


Artificial Intelligence: Research Impact on Key Industries; the Upper-Rhine Artificial Intelligence Symposium (UR-AI 2020)

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The TriRhenaTech alliance presents a collection of accepted papers of the cancelled tri-national 'Upper-Rhine Artificial Inteeligence Symposium' planned for 13th May 2020 in Karlsruhe. The TriRhenaTech alliance is a network of universities in the Upper-Rhine Trinational Metropolitan Region comprising of the German universities of applied sciences in Furtwangen, Kaiserslautern, Karlsruhe, and Offenburg, the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University Loerrach, the French university network Alsace Tech (comprised of 14 'grandes \'ecoles' in the fields of engineering, architecture and management) and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland. The alliance's common goal is to reinforce the transfer of knowledge, research, and technology, as well as the cross-border mobility of students.


Privacy-Preserving Dynamic Personalized Pricing with Demand Learning

arXiv.org Machine Learning

The prevalence of e-commerce has made detailed customers' personal information readily accessible to retailers, and this information has been widely used in pricing decisions. When involving personalized information, how to protect the privacy of such information becomes a critical issue in practice. In this paper, we consider a dynamic pricing problem over $T$ time periods with an \emph{unknown} demand function of posted price and personalized information. At each time $t$, the retailer observes an arriving customer's personal information and offers a price. The customer then makes the purchase decision, which will be utilized by the retailer to learn the underlying demand function. There is potentially a serious privacy concern during this process: a third party agent might infer the personalized information and purchase decisions from price changes from the pricing system. Using the fundamental framework of differential privacy from computer science, we develop a privacy-preserving dynamic pricing policy, which tries to maximize the retailer revenue while avoiding information leakage of individual customer's information and purchasing decisions. To this end, we first introduce a notion of \emph{anticipating} $(\varepsilon, \delta)$-differential privacy that is tailored to dynamic pricing problem. Our policy achieves both the privacy guarantee and the performance guarantee in terms of regret. Roughly speaking, for $d$-dimensional personalized information, our algorithm achieves the expected regret at the order of $\tilde{O}(\varepsilon^{-1} \sqrt{d^3 T})$, when the customers' information is adversarially chosen. For stochastic personalized information, the regret bound can be further improved to $\tilde{O}(\sqrt{d^2T} + \varepsilon^{-2} d^2)$


Overcoming the 'Retail Apocalypse'

#artificialintelligence

The retail industry is undergoing a sea change so massive that many industry insiders have termed it the "retail apocalypse." In a sign of this industry upheaval, in 2018 major retailers closed 5,524 stores in the U.S. and 1,432 stores in the U.K., according to figures compiled by the Coresight Research, a firm that studies the retail industry.1 In some good news for the industry, Coresight predicts that 2019 "will not be the year of retail apocalypse or even decline. Instead, it will be a year of reinvention -- for the retail sector as a whole and for physical stores in particular."2 This predicted reinvention of the industry stems in part from the use of sophisticated technology, specifically artificial intelligence.


How AI Is Set to Make Online Shopping Even More Tempting

#artificialintelligence

A few weeks ago, you found the perfect Father's Day gift -- a T-shirt of your dad's favorite band. You bought it online and had it shipped to his house. This week, the same online store keeps suggesting Phish T-shirts, size large, instead of the women's athletic tops you're actually looking for. The algorithm can't distinguish between shopping for your dad or yourself. Not if Diane Keng has her way.


Machine learning job: Director of Machine Learning at Walmart (San Bruno, California, United States)

#artificialintelligence

Director of Machine Learning at Walmart San Bruno, California, United States (Posted Jun 9 2019) About the company The Walmart US eCommerce team is rapidly innovating to evolve and define the future state of shopping. As the world's largest retailer, we are on a mission to help people save money and live better. With the help of some of the brightest minds in merchandising, marketing, supply chain, talent and more, we are reimaging the intersection of digital and physical shopping to help achieve that mission. Job description As Director of Machine Learning Science, you will lead a highly innovative team to strategically leverage the vast amounts of data from the World's largest Omni-channel retailer to better serve the Customer. Your primary focus will be building advanced data mining techniques, spearheading statistical analysis aligned to key business goals, and architecting high quality prediction systems to integrate with our Walmart Labs products, using advance machine learning techniques.