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The Forecaster's Toolbox

Agenda
2.1 Graphics
2.2 Numerical data summaries
2.3 Some simple forecasting methods
2.4 Transformations and adjustments
2.5 Evaluating forecast accuracy
2.6 Residual diagnostics
2.7 Prediction intervals
2.8 Exercises
2.9 Further reading
2.10 The forecast package in R
Components of Time Series Data

Secular Trend Seasonal

Cyclical Irregular
Components of Time Series Data
Irregular Cyclical
fluctuations

Secular Trend Seasonal

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Year
install.packages("fpp") #all data in book

Graphics- library(fpp) #reference data


plot(melsyd[,"Economy.Class"],
main="Economy class passengers: Melbourne-Sydney",

Look at the Data! Economy class passengers: Melbourne-Sydney


xlab="Year",ylab="Thousands")
30
25
20
Thousands

15
10
5
0

1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

Year

There was a period in 1989 when no passengers were carried --- this was due to an industrial dispute.
There was a period of reduced load in 1992. This was due to a trial in which some economy class seats were replaced by business class seats.
A large increase in passenger load occurred in the second half of 1991.
There are some large dips in load around the start of each year. These are due to holiday effects.
There is a long-term fluctuation in the level of the series which increases during 1987, decreases in 1989 and increases again through 1990 and 1991.
There are some periods of missing observations.
Graphics-Look plot(a10, ylab="$ million", xlab="Year",
main="Antidiabetic drug sales")
at the Data!
Antidiabetic drug sales
30
25
20
$ million

15
10
5

1995 2000 2005

Year
Here there is a clear and increasing trend. There is also a strong seasonal pattern that
increases in size as the level of the series increases. The sudden drop at the end of
each year is caused by a government subsidization scheme that makes it cost-effective
for patients to stockpile drugs at the end of the calendar year. Any forecasts of this
series would need to capture the seasonal pattern, and the fact that the trend is
changing slowly.
Seasonal plot: antidiabetic drug sales

30
25
20
$ million

15
10
5

Year

seasonplot(a10,ylab="$ million", xlab="Year",


main="Seasonal plot: antidiabetic drug sales",
year.labels=TRUE, year.labels.left=TRUE,
col=1:20, pch=19)
Seasonal deviation plot: antidiabetic drug sales

30
25
20
$ million

15
10
5

Jan Mar May Jul Sep Nov

Month

monthplot(a10,ylab="$ million",xlab="Month",xaxt="n",
main="Seasonal deviation plot: antidiabetic drug
sales",
axis(1,at=1:12,labels=month.abb,cex=0.8))
11
10
9
Carbon footprint

8
7
6
5
4

15 20 25 30 35 40 45

City mpg

plot(jitter(fuel[,5]),
jitter(fuel[,8]), xlab="City
mpg", ylab="Carbon footprint")
15 25 35 45 4 5 6 7 8 9 11

3.5
2.5
Litres

1.5
45
35

City
25
15

40
Highway

30
20
10
8

Carbon
6
4

1.5 2.5 3.5 20 30 40

pairs(fuel[,-c(1:2,4,7)], pch=19)
15 20 25 30 35 40 45 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5


Litres
-0.523 -0.666 0.68
45

City
35

0.821 -0.908
25

0.02
0.
06
0.04
15

45
Highway

40
35
0.02 0.002
0.0
6 00
4 -0.927

30
0.
8
0.0

25
6
00

0.04
0.

20
9 10

0.0
2
0.02
Carbon
0.2 0.0
3
7 8

0.3 0.0 0.04


3
0.1 0.01
6

0.01
5
4

1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 20 25 30 35 40 45

library(ResourceSelection)
kdepairs(fuel[,-c(1:2,4,7)], pch=19)
Statistics-Look for Issues!
myfun=function(x){ Hist

m=mean(x)

10
8
s=sd(x)

Frequency

6
f=fivenum(x)

4
2
par(mfrow=c(2,1))

0
4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0

h=hist(x, main="Hist") x

b=boxplot(x, main="Boxplot") Boxplot

all=as.list(c(m,md,s,f))

4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5


names(all)=c("Mean","sd","min","first","media
n","third","max")
return(all)
}

cardata=c(4,4.4,5.9,5.9,6.1,6.1,6.1,6.3,6.3,6.3,
rep(6.6,7), rep(6.8,3))

myfun(cardata)
Correlation-Look for
Relationships!
par(mfrow=c(2,2)) 4 6 8 10 12 14 8 10 12 14 16 18 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 6 8 10 12

plot(anscombe$y1~anscombe$x1) x1

12
1 1 -0.5 0.816 0.816 0.816 -0.314

8
plot(anscombe$y2~anscombe$x2)

4
01 06 0.009
x2

12
0.0 0.0

plot(anscombe$y3~anscombe$y3) 0.0
07 06 1 -0.5 0.816 0.816 0.816 -0.314

8
11 0.0
0.0
05 01
0.0 0.0

4
plot(anscombe$y4~anscombe$y4) 01 06 0.009 01 06 0.009
x3

12
0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

0.0
07
0.0
06 0.0
07
0.0
06 -0.5 0.816 0.816 0.816 -0.314

8
1 1 1 1
0.0 0.0
05 01 0 5 0 1
0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

4
x4

16
-0.529 -0.718 -0.345 0.817

12
8
2 2 2
y1

8 10
.00 8 .00 8 .00 8

cor(anscombe$y1,anscombe$x1,
0 0.00 0.012 0 0.00 0.012 0 0.00 0.012

0.01
6
0.01
6
0.01
6
0.75 0.469 -0.489

6
0.01
4 06 0.002 0.01
4 06 0.002 0.01
4 06 0.002
0.0 0.0 0.0

method="pearson")

4
9
0.0
1
0.025
y2
7 0.02
0.01 0.005 0.01 0.005 0.01 0.005 5
0.588 -0.478

0.0
0.00

cor(anscombe$y2,anscombe$x2,method

15
5

1
0.0
3

0.005 0.005 0.005 0.005 0.01


y3
="spearman")

8 10
0.005 0.005
0.005 0.005 0.005
0.01 0.01 0.01 0.015 -0.155
0.015 0.015 0.015 0.01 5
0.01 0.01

6
0.02 0.005 0.02 0.005 0.02 0.005 0.03 0.01 0.02

cor(anscombe) 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.002


0.00
5
0.00
5
0.005
y4
8 10

0.004 0.004 0.004 0.005 0.005


6 6 6 0.0 0.0
0.00 0.00 0.00 0.01 15 1
0.018 0.018 0.018 15 0.0 0.04

0.0

0.0
0.01

3
5

0.0
0.01

0.01

0.01

05
35
0.02
0.0
15 0.0
6

0.016 0.012 0.016 0.012 0.016 0.012 0.02 3 0.04

4 6 8 10 12 14 4 6 8 10 12 14 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6 8 10 12

cor.test
A Word About Stationarity

Refers to the idea that a time series should be


stable over time returns to an equilibrium level
Stationarity is an important concept for forecasting
because only stationary time series are predictable
A stationary time series has a mean, variance and
autocovariances that do not change over time
Many economic time series are not stationary
alternative is random walk
Stationary Time Path

Yt Time Path

Equilibrium

Shock

t
Autocorrelations
Just the correlation between any two observations
of a time series
If Cov(Yt Yt-k) is the autocovariance, then
cor(Yt Yt-k) = Cov(Yt Yt-k)/var(Yt)

newfun=function(x){
ar=rep(0,10)
for (i in 1:10){
ar[i]=cor(x[1:(length(x)-i)],x[(i+1):length(x)])}
return(ar)
}
newfun(co2)
acf(co2)
Autocorrelation (Serial
Correlation)
Autocorrelation occurs in data when the error terms of a
regression forecasting model are correlated.
Potential Problems
Estimates of the regression coefficients no longer have
the minimum variance property and may be inefficient.
The variance of the error terms may be greatly
underestimated by the mean square error value.
The true standard deviation of the estimated regression
coefficient may be seriously underestimated.
The confidence intervals and tests using the t and F
distributions are no longer strictly applicable.
First-order autocorrelation occurs when there is correlation
between the error terms of adjacent time periods.
Overcoming the
Autocorrelation Problem
Addition of Independent Variables
Transforming Variables
First-differences approach
Percentage change from period to period
Use autoregression
Neural network / MCMC simulation

changeit=co2[2:468]-co2[1:467]
newfun(changeit)
Autocorrelation
beer2 <- window(ausbeer, start=1992, end=2006-.1)

lag.plot(beer2, lags=9, do.lines=FALSE)

acf(beer2)
Series: beer2
0.5
ACF

0.0
-0.5

4 8 12 16

Lag
Average Method

F t
mean(X)

meanf(co2)
Naive Forecasting

F t
X t 1

where: F t
the forecast for time period t
Xt 1
the value for time period t - 1

Last = Next
naive(co2)
Seasonal Naive Forecasting

F t X t s

where : F the forecast for time period t


t

X the value for time period t - s


t s

Next = same as last season (no trend)


snaive(co2)
Simple Average Model

X t 1
X t 2
X t 3
X t n
Ft n

Average over certain periods = Next

library(TTR)
mysma=SMA(co2,n=5)
Moving Average (can be equivalent
to exponential smoothing)
Updated (recomputed) for every new time period
May be difficult to choose optimal number of periods
May not adjust for trend, cyclical, or seasonal effects

X t 1
X t 2
X t 3
X t n
Ft n

Weighted Average over n = Next


mywma=WMA(co2, n=3,wts=c(.5,.3,.2))
Drift Method
Nave with increase and decrease based on the delta
between the first and the last observation (draw a
line and extrapolate)
Dow Jones Index (daily ending 15 Jul 94)

Mean method
Naive method
Drift method
3900
3800
3700
3600

0 50 100 150 200 250 300

Day
dj2 <- window(dj,end=250)
plot(dj2,main="Dow Jones Index (daily ending 15 Jul 94)",
ylab="",xlab="Day",xlim=c(2,290)) Mean
lines(meanf(dj2,h=42)$mean,col=4)
lines(rwf(dj2,h=42)$mean,col=2) Nave
lines(rwf(dj2,drift=TRUE,h=42)$mean,col=3)
legend("topleft",lty=1,col=c(4,2,3), Drift
legend=c("Mean method","Naive method","Drift method"))
Transformations-Helps Normalize
Data which is Useful for Prediction
Intervals, etc.
Box Cox transformation
library(car)
BoxCox.lambda(elec)
[1] 0.2654076
powerTransform(elec)
Estimated transformation parameters
elec
0.3896253
Which is "better?"

https://www.otexts.org/fpp/2/4
Which is better? Get the Time Component
Right!
Measurement of Forecasting Error:
Model Comparison Statistics

Mean Error (ME)


Mean Absolute Deviation (MAD)
Mean Square Error (MSE)
Mean Percentage Error (MPE)

Mean Absolute Percentage Error (MAPE)


Mean Absolute Scaled Error (MASE)
Akaike Information Criterion (corrected) (AICc)
Year Actual Forecast Error
1 1402

Nonfarm 2 1458 1402.0 56.0


3 1553 1441.2 111.8
Partnership 4 1613 1519.5 93.5
Tax Returns: 5 1676 1584.9 91.1
Actual and 6 1755 1648.7 106.3

Forecast 7 1807 1723.1 83.9

with = .7
8 1824 1781.8 42.2
9 1826 1811.3 14.7
10 1780 1821.6 -41.6
11 1759 1792.5 -33.5
Mean Error for the Nonfarm Partnership
Forecasted Data
Year Actual Forecast Error
ME
e i
1 1402.0 number of forecasts
2 1458.0 1402.0 56.0 524.3

3 1553.0 1441.2 111.8 10
4 1613.0 1519.5 93.5 52.43
5 1676.0 1584.9 91.1
6 1755.0 1648.7 106.3
7 1807.0 1723.1 83.9
8 1824.0 1781.8 42.2
9 1826.0 1811.3 14.7
10 1780.0 1821.6 -41.6
11 1759.0 1792.5 -33.5
524.3
Mean Absolute Deviation: Nonfarm
Partnership Forecasted Data
Year Actual Forecast Error |Error|
MAD
e i
1 1402.0 number of forecasts
2 1458.0 1402.0 56.0 56.0 674.5
3 1553.0 1441.2 111.8 111.8
10
4 1613.0 1519.5 93.5 93.5
67.45
5 1676.0 1584.9 91.1 91.1
6 1755.0 1648.7 106.3 106.3
7 1807.0 1723.1 83.9 83.9
8 1824.0 1781.8 42.2 42.2
9 1826.0 1811.3 14.7 14.7
10 1780.0 1821.6 -41.6 41.6
11 1759.0 1792.5 -33.5 33.5
674.5
Mean Square Error: Nonfarm
Partnership Forecasted Data
Year Actual Forecast Error Error2
1 1402
2 1458 1402.0 56.0 3136.0
3 1553 1441.2 111.8 12499.2
MSE
e 2
i
4 1613 1519.5 93.5 8749.7
number of forecasts
5 1676 1584.9 91.1 8292.3
55864.2
6 1755 1648.7 106.3 11303.6
10
7 1807 1723.1 83.9 7038.5
5586.42
8 1824 1781.8 42.2 1778.2
9 1826 1811.3 14.7 214.6
10 1780 1821.6 -41.6 1731.0
11 1759 1792.5 -33.5 1121.0
55864.2
Mean Percentage Error: Nonfarm
Partnership Forecasted Data
Year Actual Forecast Error Error %
1 1402
2 1458 1402.0 56.0 3.8% ei
3 1553 1441.2 111.8 7.2% X 100
MPE
i
4 1613 1519.5 93.5 5.8% number of forecasts
5 1676 1584.9 91.1 5.4% 318.
6 1755 1648.7 106.3 6.1%
10
7 1807 1723.1 83.9 4.6% 318%
.
8 1824 1781.8 42.2 2.3%
9 1826 1811.3 14.7 0.8%
10 1780 1821.6 -41.6 -2.3%
11 1759 1792.5 -33.5 -1.9%
31.8%
Mean Absolute Percentage Error: Nonfarm
Partnership Forecasted Data
Year Actual Forecast Error |Error %|
1 1402
2 1458 1402.0 56.0 3.8%
3 1553 1441.2 111.8 7.2% e
4 1613 1519.5 93.5 5.8% X 100
i

5 1676 1584.9 91.1 5.4% i


MAPE
6 1755 1648.7 106.3 6.1% number of forecasts
7 1807 1723.1 83.9 4.6% 40.3

8 1824 1781.8 42.2 2.3% 10
9 1826 1811.3 14.7 0.8% 4.03%
10 1780 1821.6 -41.6 2.3%
11 1759 1792.5 -33.5 1.9%
40.3%
Mean Absolute Scaled Error:
Nonfarm Partnership Forecasted
Data |Nave Forecast
Actual Nave Forecast Error| Our Forecast |Our Error|

1402
1458 1402 56 1402 56
1553 1441.2 111.8 1441.2 111.8
1613 1519.5 93.5 1519.5 93.5
1676 1584.9 91.1 1584.9 91.1
1755 1648.7 106.3 1648.7 106.3
1807 1723.1 83.9 1723.1 83.9
1824 1781.8 42.2 1781.8 42.2
1826 1811.3 14.7 1811.3 14.7
1780 1821.6 41.6 1821.6 41.6
1759 1792.5 33.5 1792.3 33.3
Average 67.46 67.44

MASE = Average Abs Error / Average Abs Nave Error 0.999703528


Training and Test Sets
It is important to evaluate forecast accuracy using genuine forecasts. That is, it is
invalid to look at how well a model fits the historical data; the accuracy of forecasts
can only be determined by considering how well a model performs on new data
that were not used when fitting the model. When choosing models, it is common
to use a portion of the available data for fitting, and use the rest of the data for
testing the model, as was done in the above examples. Then the testing data can
be used to measure how well the model is likely to forecast on new data.

The size of the test set is typically about 20% of the total sample, although this
value depends on how long the sample is and how far ahead you want to forecast.
The size of the test set should ideally be at least as large as the maximum forecast
horizon required. The following points should be noted.

A model which fits the data well does not necessarily forecast well.
A perfect fit can always be obtained by using a model with enough parameters.
Over-fitting a model to data is as bad as failing to identify the systematic pattern
in the data.
Cross-Validation-Cross Sectional
Data
1.Select observation i for the test set, and use the remaining
observations in the training set. Compute the error on the
test observation
2.Repeat the above step for i=1,2,,N where N is the total
number of observations.
3.Compute the forecast accuracy measures based on the
errors obtained.

(Leave one out analysis)


Cross-Validation: Time Series
(One-Step Forecasts)

1.Select the observation at time k+i for the test set, and
use the observations at times 1,2,,k+i1 to estimate
the forecasting model. Compute the error on the
forecast for time k+i.
2.Repeat the above step for i=1,2,,Tk where T is the
total number of observations.
3.Compute the forecast accuracy measures based on
the errors obtained.
Cross-Validation: Time Series (h-
step forecasts)

1.Select the observation at time k+h+i1 for


the test set, and use the observations at
times 1,2,,k+i1 to estimate the forecasting
model. Compute the h-step error on the
forecast for time k+h+i1.
2.Repeat the above step for
i=1,2,,Tkh+1 where T is the total number
of observations.
3.Compute the forecast accuracy measures
based on the errors obtained
Residual Diagnostics-Good
Models
Necessary: The residuals are uncorrelated. If
there are correlations between residuals, then
there is information left in the residuals which
should be used in computing forecasts.
Necessary: The residuals have zero mean. If the
residuals have a mean other than zero, then the
forecasts are biased.
Useful: constant variance
Useful: normal distribution

Look at residual histograms as well as ACF plots.


There are tests; however all are sensitive to sample
size.
Reasons for Forecast Failure
Failure to examine assumptions
Limited expertise
Lack of imagination
Neglect of constraints
Excessive optimism
Reliance on mechanical extrapolation
Premature closure
Over specification
Akaike Information Criteria (AIC)
AIC 2 log Lik 2 p
Akaike, Hirotugu (1974). "A new look at the statistical model identification".
IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control 19 (6): 716723..

Bayesian Information Criteria

BIC 2 log Lik p ln( N )


Schwarz, Gideon E. (1978). "Estimating the dimension of a model".
Annals of Statistics 6 (2): 461464.
AIC versus BIC
2 p vs. p ln( N )
BIC and AIC are similar
Different penalty for number of
parameters
The BIC penalizes free parameters more
strongly than does the AIC.
Implications: BIC tends to choose smaller
models
The larger the N, the more likely that AIC
and BIC will disagree on model selection
Judgmental Forecasts
Sometimes the only option
Lack of historical data
New product launch
New policy enactment
Data incomplete
Accuracy improves with
Domain knowledge
Timely information
Increasingly more systematic and structured,
scientific
Settings for Judgmental Forecasts
There are no available data so that statistical
methods are not applicable and judgmental
forecasting is the only feasible approach
(qualitative research, if you will)
Data are available, statistical forecasts are
generated and these are then adjusted using
judgment (mixed methods)
Data are available and statistical and judgmental
forecasts are independently generated and then
combined (mixed methods)
Limitations
Based on human cognition
Subject to bias
Inconsistent
Anchoring (close to a reference point)
Others
Principles of Judgmental
Forecasting
Set the forecasting task clearly and concisely
(define the problem well)
Implement a systematic approach (example, define
weighting schemes for decision analysis)
Document and justify
Systematically evaluate forecasts
Segregate forecasters and users
The Delphi Method
A panel of experts is assembled.
Forecasting tasks/challenges are set and distributed to
the experts.
Experts return initial forecasts and justifications. These
are compiled and summarized in order to provide
feedback.
Feedback is provided to the experts who now review
their forecasts in light of the feedback. This step may be
iterated until a satisfactory level of consensus is
reached.
Final forecasts are constructed by aggregating the
experts forecasts.
Example
Assume you are political experts. I am asking you at this
point to forecast who will be the likely Democratic
nominee for President in four years. (I might restrict this
to some range..or not.) This is your only forecasting
challenge. You will anonymously vote in a poll and
provide the justification for your choice. Then you will
provide chats directly to me (so as to remain
anonymous). I will post those to the discussion board.
After I receive all the chat commentary, you will re-vote.
We would do this until some level of convergence is
reached (but will probably truncate it after two or three
iterations here.) NOTE: anonymity is both a bane and a
boon. Why?
Forecasting by Analogy
Might be as simple as appraisal or as structured as..

1. Assemble a panel of experts who are likely to have experience


with analogous situations is assembled.
2. Tasks/challenges are set and distributed to the experts.
3. Experts identify and describe as many analogies as they can.
4. Experts list similarities and differences of each analogy to the
target situation, then rate the similarity of each analogies to the
target situation on a scale.
5. Forecasts are derived by facilitator by using a set rule. This can
be a weighted average where the weights can be guided by the
ranking scores of each analogy by the experts.
Scenario Forecasting
We did this on the discussion board.
Some commentsTry to think of the secondary and
tertiary sequellae, the downstream effects beyond
those that would immediately occur
New Product Forecasting
Sales Force Composite (by branch judgmental
analysis)
Sales Managers by department by store by
Aggregated
Executive Opinion
Customer Intentions (e.g., Surveys)
Judgmental Adjustments
Use sparingly
Apply a structured approach
Be sure forecasters and users are well-segregated