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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.


Demand forecasting: Using machine learning to predict retail sales

#artificialintelligence

Too many items and too few items are both scenarios that are bad for business. Massive incremental profit can be unlocked by retailers managing orders and inventory effectively. But as this requires the processing of data for a huge number of stock keeping units (SKUs), which often include perishable goods and items that are ordered daily, it is also a significant challenge. Retailers used to rely solely on the data from previous years to predict future sales (and therefore manage their inventory), but this method is only useful up to a point. However, machine learning has now evolved to the stage that it can provide accurate predictive models using different signals based on how they influence purchases.


4 ways Artificial Intelligence is reshaping demand forecasting in retail - Indiaretailing.com

#artificialintelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the technology of today, the story of 2010 and the excitement of tomorrow. The past decade will be reminisced as an era where machines began their journey on the path of intelligence – proficient in learning, executing, and'thinking' like humans do. The digitalization of the Retail Industry has been changing in recent years with augmented efficiency, rapidity and accuracy across every branch of business domain. Through prognostic analytics and innovative data exploration, we are now able to make all data-focused business resolutions. AI in the domain of retail has enabled industries to access high levels of data information which has improved retail operations and given business better opportunities.


Intermittent Demand Forecasting with Deep Renewal Processes

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Intermittent demand, where demand occurrences appear sporadically in time, is a common and challenging problem in forecasting. In this paper, we first make the connections between renewal processes, and a collection of current models used for intermittent demand forecasting. We then develop a set of models that benefit from recurrent neural networks to parameterize conditional interdemand time and size distributions, building on the latest paradigm in "deep" temporal point processes. We present favorable empirical findings on discrete and continuous time intermittent demand data, validating the practical value of our approach.