Spatiotemporal convolutional network for time-series prediction and causal inference

07/03/2021 ∙ by Hao Peng, et al. ∙ 78

Making predictions in a robust way is not easy for nonlinear systems. In this work, a neural network computing framework, i.e., a spatiotemporal convolutional network (STCN), was developed to efficiently and accurately render a multistep-ahead prediction of a time series by employing a spatial-temporal information (STI) transformation. The STCN combines the advantages of both the temporal convolutional network (TCN) and the STI equation, which maps the high-dimensional/spatial data to the future temporal values of a target variable, thus naturally providing the prediction of the target variable. From the observed variables, the STCN also infers the causal factors of the target variable in the sense of Granger causality, which are in turn selected as effective spatial information to improve the prediction robustness. The STCN was successfully applied to both benchmark systems and real-world datasets, all of which show superior and robust performance in multistep-ahead prediction, even when the data were perturbed by noise. From both theoretical and computational viewpoints, the STCN has great potential in practical applications in artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning fields as a model-free method based only on the observed data, and also opens a new way to explore the observed high-dimensional data in a dynamical manner for machine learning.

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