Bayesian neural networks for nonlinear time series forecasting

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Abstract

In this article, we apply Bayesian neural networks (BNNs) to time series analysis, and propose a Monte Carlo algorithm for BNN training. In addition, we go a step further in BNN model selection by putting a prior on network connections instead of hidden units as done by other authors. This allows us to treat the selection of hidden units and the selection of input variables uniformly. The BNN model is compared to a number of competitors, such as the Box-Jenkins model, bilinear model, threshold autoregressive model, and traditional neural network model, on a number of popular and challenging data sets. Numerical results show that the BNN model has achieved a consistent improvement over the competitors in forecasting future values. Insights on how to improve the generalization ability of BNNs are revealed in many respects of our implementation, such as the selection of input variables, the specification of prior distributions, and the treatment of outliers.

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