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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.


Output Space Entropy Search Framework for Multi-Objective Bayesian Optimization

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

We consider the problem of black-box multi-objective optimization (MOO) using expensive function evaluations (also referred to as experiments), where the goal is to approximate the true Pareto set of solutions by minimizing the total resource cost of experiments. For example, in hardware design optimization, we need to find the designs that trade-off performance, energy, and area overhead using expensive computational simulations. The key challenge is to select the sequence of experiments to uncover high-quality solutions using minimal resources. In this paper, we propose a general framework for solving MOO problems based on the principle of output space entropy (OSE) search: select the experiment that maximizes the information gained per unit resource cost about the true Pareto front. We appropriately instantiate the principle of OSE search to derive efficient algorithms for the following four MOO problem settings: 1) The most basic single-fidelity setting, where experiments are expensive and accurate; 2) Handling black-box constraints which cannot be evaluated without performing experiments; 3) The discrete multi-fidelity setting, where experiments can vary in the amount of resources consumed and their evaluation accuracy; and 4) The continuous-fidelity setting, where continuous function approximations result in a huge space of experiments. Experiments on diverse synthetic and real-world benchmarks show that our OSE search based algorithms improve over state-of-the-art methods in terms of both computational-efficiency and accuracy of MOO solutions.


Output Space Entropy Search Framework for Multi-Objective Bayesian Optimization

arXiv.org Machine Learning

We consider the problem of black-box multi-objective optimization (MOO) using expensive function evaluations (also referred to as experiments), where the goal is to approximate the true Pareto set of solutions by minimizing the total resource cost of experiments. For example, in hardware design optimization, we need to find the designs that trade-off performance, energy, and area overhead using expensive computational simulations. The key challenge is to select the sequence of experiments to uncover high-quality solutions using minimal resources. In this paper, we propose a general framework for solving MOO problems based on the principle of output space entropy (OSE) search: select the experiment that maximizes the information gained per unit resource cost about the true Pareto front. We appropriately instantiate the principle of OSE search to derive efficient algorithms for the following four MOO problem settings: 1) The most basic em single-fidelity setting, where experiments are expensive and accurate; 2) Handling em black-box constraints} which cannot be evaluated without performing experiments; 3) The discrete multi-fidelity setting, where experiments can vary in the amount of resources consumed and their evaluation accuracy; and 4) The em continuous-fidelity setting, where continuous function approximations result in a huge space of experiments. Experiments on diverse synthetic and real-world benchmarks show that our OSE search based algorithms improve over state-of-the-art methods in terms of both computational-efficiency and accuracy of MOO solutions.


Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity, and we, as machine learning experts, may wonder how we can help. Here we describe how machine learning can be a powerful tool in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping society adapt to a changing climate. From smart grids to disaster management, we identify high impact problems where existing gaps can be filled by machine learning, in collaboration with other fields. Our recommendations encompass exciting research questions as well as promising business opportunities. We call on the machine learning community to join the global effort against climate change.