Learning Structured Components: Towards Modular and Interpretable Multivariate Time Series Forecasting

Jinliang Deng, Xiusi Chen, Renhe Jiang, Du Yin, Yi Yang, Xuan Song, Ivor W. Tsang

Multivariate time-series (MTS) forecasting is a paramount and fundamental problem in many real-world applications. The core issue in MTS forecasting is how to effectively model complex spatial-temporal patterns. In this paper, we develop a modular and interpretable forecasting framework, which seeks to individually model each component of the spatial-temporal patterns. We name this framework SCNN, short for Structured Component-based Neural Network. SCNN works with a pre-defined generative process of MTS, which arithmetically characterizes the latent structure of the spatial-temporal patterns. In line with its reverse process, SCNN decouples MTS data into structured and heterogeneous components and then respectively extrapolates the evolution of these components, the dynamics of which is more traceable and predictable than the original MTS. Extensive experiments are conducted to demonstrate that SCNN can achieve superior performance over state-of-the-art models on three real-world datasets. Additionally, we examine SCNN with different configurations and perform in-depth analyses of the properties of SCNN.

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