Minimax Time Series Prediction

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 28 (NIPS 2015)

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Wouter M. Koolen, Alan Malek, Peter L. Bartlett, Yasin Abbasi Yadkori


We consider an adversarial formulation of the problem ofpredicting a time series with square loss. The aim is to predictan arbitrary sequence of vectors almost as well as the bestsmooth comparator sequence in retrospect. Our approach allowsnatural measures of smoothness such as the squared norm ofincrements. More generally, we consider a linear time seriesmodel and penalize the comparator sequence through the energy ofthe implied driving noise terms. We derive the minimax strategyfor all problems of this type and show that it can be implementedefficiently. The optimal predictions are linear in the previousobservations. We obtain an explicit expression for the regret interms of the parameters defining the problem. For typical,simple definitions of smoothness, the computation of the optimalpredictions involves only sparse matrices. In the case ofnorm-constrained data, where the smoothness is defined in termsof the squared norm of the comparator's increments, we show thatthe regret grows as $T/\sqrt{\lambda_T}$, where $T$ is the lengthof the game and $\lambda_T$ is an increasing limit on comparatorsmoothness.