Radflow: A Recurrent, Aggregated, and Decomposable Model for Networks of Time Series

15 Feb 2021  ·  Alasdair Tran, Alexander Mathews, Cheng Soon Ong, Lexing Xie ·

We propose a new model for networks of time series that influence each other. Graph structures among time series are found in diverse domains, such as web traffic influenced by hyperlinks, product sales influenced by recommendation, or urban transport volume influenced by road networks and weather. There has been recent progress in graph modeling and in time series forecasting, respectively, but an expressive and scalable approach for a network of series does not yet exist. We introduce Radflow, a novel model that embodies three key ideas: a recurrent neural network to obtain node embeddings that depend on time, the aggregation of the flow of influence from neighboring nodes with multi-head attention, and the multi-layer decomposition of time series. Radflow naturally takes into account dynamic networks where nodes and edges change over time, and it can be used for prediction and data imputation tasks. On real-world datasets ranging from a few hundred to a few hundred thousand nodes, we observe that Radflow variants are the best performing model across a wide range of settings. The recurrent component in Radflow also outperforms N-BEATS, the state-of-the-art time series model. We show that Radflow can learn different trends and seasonal patterns, that it is robust to missing nodes and edges, and that correlated temporal patterns among network neighbors reflect influence strength. We curate WikiTraffic, the largest dynamic network of time series with 366K nodes and 22M time-dependent links spanning five years. This dataset provides an open benchmark for developing models in this area, with applications that include optimizing resources for the web. More broadly, Radflow has the potential to improve forecasts in correlated time series networks such as the stock market, and impute missing measurements in geographically dispersed networks of natural phenomena.

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