Two major challenges in demand forecasting are product cannibalization and long term forecasting. Product cannibalization is a phenomenon in which high demand of some products leads to reduction in sales of other products. Long term forecasting involves forecasting the sales over longer time frame that is critical for strategic business purposes. Also, conventional methods, for instance, recurrent neural networks may be ineffective where train data size is small as in the case in this study. This work presents XGBoost-based three-stage framework that addresses product cannibalization and associated long term error propagation problems. The performance of the proposed three-stage XGBoost-based framework is compared to and is found superior than that of regular XGBoost algorithm.

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The increasing demand for analyzing the insights in sports has stimulated a line of productive studies from a variety of perspectives, e.g., health state monitoring, outcome prediction. In this paper, we focus on objectively judging what and where to return strokes, which is still unexplored in turn-based sports. By formulating stroke forecasting as a sequence prediction task, existing works can tackle the problem but fail to model information based on the characteristics of badminton. To address these limitations, we propose a novel Position-aware Fusion of Rally Progress and Player Styles framework (ShuttleNet) that incorporates rally progress and information of the players by two modified encoder-decoder extractors. Moreover, we design a fusion network to integrate rally contexts and contexts of the players by conditioning on information dependency and different positions. Extensive experiments on the badminton dataset demonstrate that ShuttleNet significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art methods and also empirically validates the feasibility of each component in ShuttleNet. On top of that, we provide an analysis scenario for the stroke forecasting problem.

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This paper deals with the grouped variable selection problem. A widely used strategy is to equip the loss function with a sparsity-promoting penalty. Existing methods include the group Lasso, group SCAD, and group MCP. The group Lasso solves a convex optimization problem but is plagued by underestimation bias. The group SCAD and group MCP avoid the estimation bias but require solving a non-convex optimization problem that suffers from local optima. In this work, we propose an alternative method based on the generalized minimax concave (GMC) penalty, which is a folded concave penalty that can maintain the convexity of the objective function. We develop a new method for grouped variable selection in linear regression, the group GMC, that generalizes the strategy of the original GMC estimator. We present an efficient algorithm for computing the group GMC estimator. We also prove properties of the solution path to guide its numerical computation and tuning parameter selection in practice. We establish error bounds for both the group GMC and original GMC estimators. A rich set of simulation studies and a real data application indicate that the proposed group GMC approach outperforms existing methods in several different aspects under a wide array of scenarios.

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We introduce NeuralProphet, a successor to Facebook Prophet, which set an industry standard for explainable, scalable, and user-friendly forecasting frameworks. With the proliferation of time series data, explainable forecasting remains a challenging task for business and operational decision making. Hybrid solutions are needed to bridge the gap between interpretable classical methods and scalable deep learning models. We view Prophet as a precursor to such a solution. However, Prophet lacks local context, which is essential for forecasting the near-term future and is challenging to extend due to its Stan backend. NeuralProphet is a hybrid forecasting framework based on PyTorch and trained with standard deep learning methods, making it easy for developers to extend the framework. Local context is introduced with auto-regression and covariate modules, which can be configured as classical linear regression or as Neural Networks. Otherwise, NeuralProphet retains the design philosophy of Prophet and provides the same basic model components. Our results demonstrate that NeuralProphet produces interpretable forecast components of equivalent or superior quality to Prophet on a set of generated time series. NeuralProphet outperforms Prophet on a diverse collection of real-world datasets. For short to medium-term forecasts, NeuralProphet improves forecast accuracy by 55 to 92 percent.

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Spatio-temporal forecasting has numerous applications in analyzing wireless, traffic, and financial networks. Many classical statistical models often fall short in handling the complexity and high non-linearity present in time-series data. Recent advances in deep learning allow for better modelling of spatial and temporal dependencies. While most of these models focus on obtaining accurate point forecasts, they do not characterize the prediction uncertainty. In this work, we consider the time-series data as a random realization from a nonlinear state-space model and target Bayesian inference of the hidden states for probabilistic forecasting. We use particle flow as the tool for approximating the posterior distribution of the states, as it is shown to be highly effective in complex, high-dimensional settings. Thorough experimentation on several real world time-series datasets demonstrates that our approach provides better characterization of uncertainty while maintaining comparable accuracy to the state-of-the art point forecasting methods.

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Temporal action proposal generation aims to estimate temporal intervals of actions in untrimmed videos, which is a challenging yet important task in the video understanding field. The proposals generated by current methods still suffer from inaccurate temporal boundaries and inferior confidence used for retrieval owing to the lack of efficient temporal modeling and effective boundary context utilization. In this paper, we propose Temporal Context Aggregation Network (TCANet) to generate high-quality action proposals through "local and global" temporal context aggregation and complementary as well as progressive boundary refinement. Specifically, we first design a Local-Global Temporal Encoder (LGTE), which adopts the channel grouping strategy to efficiently encode both "local and global" temporal inter-dependencies. Furthermore, both the boundary and internal context of proposals are adopted for frame-level and segment-level boundary regressions, respectively. Temporal Boundary Regressor (TBR) is designed to combine these two regression granularities in an end-to-end fashion, which achieves the precise boundaries and reliable confidence of proposals through progressive refinement. Extensive experiments are conducted on three challenging datasets: HACS, ActivityNet-v1.3, and THUMOS-14, where TCANet can generate proposals with high precision and recall. By combining with the existing action classifier, TCANet can obtain remarkable temporal action detection performance compared with other methods. Not surprisingly, the proposed TCANet won the 1$^{st}$ place in the CVPR 2020 - HACS challenge leaderboard on temporal action localization task.

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Modeling multivariate time series has long been a subject that has attracted researchers from a diverse range of fields including economics, finance, and traffic. A basic assumption behind multivariate time series forecasting is that its variables depend on one another but, upon looking closely, it is fair to say that existing methods fail to fully exploit latent spatial dependencies between pairs of variables. In recent years, meanwhile, graph neural networks (GNNs) have shown high capability in handling relational dependencies. GNNs require well-defined graph structures for information propagation which means they cannot be applied directly for multivariate time series where the dependencies are not known in advance. In this paper, we propose a general graph neural network framework designed specifically for multivariate time series data. Our approach automatically extracts the uni-directed relations among variables through a graph learning module, into which external knowledge like variable attributes can be easily integrated. A novel mix-hop propagation layer and a dilated inception layer are further proposed to capture the spatial and temporal dependencies within the time series. The graph learning, graph convolution, and temporal convolution modules are jointly learned in an end-to-end framework. Experimental results show that our proposed model outperforms the state-of-the-art baseline methods on 3 of 4 benchmark datasets and achieves on-par performance with other approaches on two traffic datasets which provide extra structural information.

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In this paper, we present an accurate and scalable approach to the face clustering task. We aim at grouping a set of faces by their potential identities. We formulate this task as a link prediction problem: a link exists between two faces if they are of the same identity. The key idea is that we find the local context in the feature space around an instance (face) contains rich information about the linkage relationship between this instance and its neighbors. By constructing sub-graphs around each instance as input data, which depict the local context, we utilize the graph convolution network (GCN) to perform reasoning and infer the likelihood of linkage between pairs in the sub-graphs. Experiments show that our method is more robust to the complex distribution of faces than conventional methods, yielding favorably comparable results to state-of-the-art methods on standard face clustering benchmarks, and is scalable to large datasets. Furthermore, we show that the proposed method does not need the number of clusters as prior, is aware of noises and outliers, and can be extended to a multi-view version for more accurate clustering accuracy.

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Multivariate time series forecasting is extensively studied throughout the years with ubiquitous applications in areas such as finance, traffic, environment, etc. Still, concerns have been raised on traditional methods for incapable of modeling complex patterns or dependencies lying in real word data. To address such concerns, various deep learning models, mainly Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) based methods, are proposed. Nevertheless, capturing extremely long-term patterns while effectively incorporating information from other variables remains a challenge for time-series forecasting. Furthermore, lack-of-explainability remains one serious drawback for deep neural network models. Inspired by Memory Network proposed for solving the question-answering task, we propose a deep learning based model named Memory Time-series network (MTNet) for time series forecasting. MTNet consists of a large memory component, three separate encoders, and an autoregressive component to train jointly. Additionally, the attention mechanism designed enable MTNet to be highly interpretable. We can easily tell which part of the historic data is referenced the most.

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Current person re-identification (re-id) methods assume that (1) pre-labelled training data are available for every camera pair, (2) the gallery size for re-identification is moderate. Both assumptions scale poorly to real-world applications when camera network size increases and gallery size becomes large. Human verification of automatic model ranked re-id results becomes inevitable. In this work, a novel human-in-the-loop re-id model based on Human Verification Incremental Learning (HVIL) is formulated which does not require any pre-labelled training data to learn a model, therefore readily scalable to new camera pairs. This HVIL model learns cumulatively from human feedback to provide instant improvement to re-id ranking of each probe on-the-fly enabling the model scalable to large gallery sizes. We further formulate a Regularised Metric Ensemble Learning (RMEL) model to combine a series of incrementally learned HVIL models into a single ensemble model to be used when human feedback becomes unavailable.

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Superpixel segmentation has become an important research problem in image processing. In this paper, we propose an Iterative Spanning Forest (ISF) framework, based on sequences of Image Foresting Transforms, where one can choose i) a seed sampling strategy, ii) a connectivity function, iii) an adjacency relation, and iv) a seed pixel recomputation procedure to generate improved sets of connected superpixels (supervoxels in 3D) per iteration. The superpixels in ISF structurally correspond to spanning trees rooted at those seeds. We present five ISF methods to illustrate different choices of its components. These methods are compared with approaches from the state-of-the-art in effectiveness and efficiency. The experiments involve 2D and 3D datasets with distinct characteristics, and a high level application, named sky image segmentation. The theoretical properties of ISF are demonstrated in the supplementary material and the results show that some of its methods are competitive with or superior to the best baselines in effectiveness and efficiency.

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