A machine learning approach for forecasting hierarchical time series

05/31/2020 ∙ by Paolo Mancuso, et al. ∙ 0

In this paper, we propose a machine learning approach for forecasting hierarchical time series. Rather than using historical or forecasted proportions, as in standard top-down approaches, we formulate the disaggregation problem as a non-linear regression problem. We propose a deep neural network that automatically learns how to distribute the top-level forecasts to the bottom level-series of the hierarchy, keeping into account the characteristics of the aggregate series and the information of the individual series. In order to evaluate the performance of the proposed method, we analyze hierarchical sales data and electricity demand data. Besides comparison with the top-down approaches, the model is compared with the bottom-up method and the optimal reconciliation method. Results demonstrate that our method does not only increase the average forecasting accuracy of the hierarchy but also addresses the need of building an automated procedure generating coherent forecasts for many time series at the same time.

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