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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.


Artificial Intellgence -- Application in Life Sciences and Beyond. The Upper Rhine Artificial Intelligence Symposium UR-AI 2021

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The TriRhenaTech alliance presents the accepted papers of the 'Upper-Rhine Artificial Intelligence Symposium' held on October 27th 2021 in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Topics of the conference are applications of Artificial Intellgence in life sciences, intelligent systems, industry 4.0, mobility and others. 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, Offenburg and Trier, 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.


Simulation Intelligence: Towards a New Generation of Scientific Methods

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The original "Seven Motifs" set forth a roadmap of essential methods for the field of scientific computing, where a motif is an algorithmic method that captures a pattern of computation and data movement. We present the "Nine Motifs of Simulation Intelligence", a roadmap for the development and integration of the essential algorithms necessary for a merger of scientific computing, scientific simulation, and artificial intelligence. We call this merger simulation intelligence (SI), for short. We argue the motifs of simulation intelligence are interconnected and interdependent, much like the components within the layers of an operating system. Using this metaphor, we explore the nature of each layer of the simulation intelligence operating system stack (SI-stack) and the motifs therein: (1) Multi-physics and multi-scale modeling; (2) Surrogate modeling and emulation; (3) Simulation-based inference; (4) Causal modeling and inference; (5) Agent-based modeling; (6) Probabilistic programming; (7) Differentiable programming; (8) Open-ended optimization; (9) Machine programming. We believe coordinated efforts between motifs offers immense opportunity to accelerate scientific discovery, from solving inverse problems in synthetic biology and climate science, to directing nuclear energy experiments and predicting emergent behavior in socioeconomic settings. We elaborate on each layer of the SI-stack, detailing the state-of-art methods, presenting examples to highlight challenges and opportunities, and advocating for specific ways to advance the motifs and the synergies from their combinations. Advancing and integrating these technologies can enable a robust and efficient hypothesis-simulation-analysis type of scientific method, which we introduce with several use-cases for human-machine teaming and automated science.


On the Opportunities and Risks of Foundation Models

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

AI is undergoing a paradigm shift with the rise of models (e.g., BERT, DALL-E, GPT-3) that are trained on broad data at scale and are adaptable to a wide range of downstream tasks. We call these models foundation models to underscore their critically central yet incomplete character. This report provides a thorough account of the opportunities and risks of foundation models, ranging from their capabilities (e.g., language, vision, robotics, reasoning, human interaction) and technical principles(e.g., model architectures, training procedures, data, systems, security, evaluation, theory) to their applications (e.g., law, healthcare, education) and societal impact (e.g., inequity, misuse, economic and environmental impact, legal and ethical considerations). Though foundation models are based on standard deep learning and transfer learning, their scale results in new emergent capabilities,and their effectiveness across so many tasks incentivizes homogenization. Homogenization provides powerful leverage but demands caution, as the defects of the foundation model are inherited by all the adapted models downstream. Despite the impending widespread deployment of foundation models, we currently lack a clear understanding of how they work, when they fail, and what they are even capable of due to their emergent properties. To tackle these questions, we believe much of the critical research on foundation models will require deep interdisciplinary collaboration commensurate with their fundamentally sociotechnical nature.


Challenges in Benchmarking Stream Learning Algorithms with Real-world Data

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Streaming data are increasingly present in real-world applications such as sensor measurements, satellite data feed, stock market, and financial data. The main characteristics of these applications are the online arrival of data observations at high speed and the susceptibility to changes in the data distributions due to the dynamic nature of real environments. The data stream mining community still faces some primary challenges and difficulties related to the comparison and evaluation of new proposals, mainly due to the lack of publicly available non-stationary real-world datasets. The comparison of stream algorithms proposed in the literature is not an easy task, as authors do not always follow the same recommendations, experimental evaluation procedures, datasets, and assumptions. In this paper, we mitigate problems related to the choice of datasets in the experimental evaluation of stream classifiers and drift detectors. To that end, we propose a new public data repository for benchmarking stream algorithms with real-world data. This repository contains the most popular datasets from literature and new datasets related to a highly relevant public health problem that involves the recognition of disease vector insects using optical sensors. The main advantage of these new datasets is the prior knowledge of their characteristics and patterns of changes to evaluate new adaptive algorithm proposals adequately. We also present an in-depth discussion about the characteristics, reasons, and issues that lead to different types of changes in data distribution, as well as a critical review of common problems concerning the current benchmark datasets available in the literature.


Reinforcement Learning Applications

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

We start with a brief introduction to reinforcement learning (RL), about its successful stories, basics, an example, issues, the ICML 2019 Workshop on RL for Real Life, how to use it, study material and an outlook. Then we discuss a selection of RL applications, including recommender systems, computer systems, energy, finance, healthcare, robotics, and transportation.