Review of automated time series forecasting pipelines

February, 2022


Time series forecasting is fundamental for various use cases in different domains such as energy systems and economics. Creating a forecasting model for a specific use case requires an iterative and complex design process. The typical design process includes the five sections (1) data pre-processing, (2) feature engineering, (3) hyperparameter optimization, (4) forecasting method selection, and (5) forecast ensembling, which are commonly organized in a pipeline structure. One promising approach to handle the ever-growing demand for time series forecasts is automating this design process. The present paper, thus, analyzes the existing literature on automated time series forecasting pipelines to investigate how to automate the design process of forecasting models. Thereby, we consider both Automated Machine Learning (AutoML) and automated statistical forecasting methods in a single forecasting pipeline. For this purpose, we firstly present and compare the proposed automation methods for each pipeline section. Secondly, we analyze the automation methods regarding their interaction, combination, and coverage of the five pipeline sections. For both, we discuss the literature, identify problems, give recommendations, and suggest future research. This review reveals that the majority of papers only cover two or three of the five pipeline sections. We conclude that future research has to holistically consider the automation of the forecasting pipeline to enable the large-scale application of time series forecasting.

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