FourierGNN: Rethinking Multivariate Time Series Forecasting from a Pure Graph Perspective

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Kun Yi, Qi Zhang, Wei Fan, Hui He, Liang Hu, Pengyang Wang, Ning An, Longbing Cao, Zhendong Niu


Multivariate time series (MTS) forecasting has shown great importance in numerous industries. Current state-of-the-art graph neural network (GNN)-based forecasting methods usually require both graph networks (e.g., GCN) and temporal networks (e.g., LSTM) to capture inter-series (spatial) dynamics and intra-series (temporal) dependencies, respectively. However, the uncertain compatibility of the two networks puts an extra burden on handcrafted model designs. Moreover, the separate spatial and temporal modeling naturally violates the unified spatiotemporal inter-dependencies in real world, which largely hinders the forecasting performance. To overcome these problems, we explore an interesting direction of directly applying graph networks and rethink MTS forecasting from a pure graph perspective. We first define a novel data structure, hypervariate graph, which regards each series value (regardless of variates or timestamps) as a graph node, and represents sliding windows as space-time fully-connected graphs. This perspective considers spatiotemporal dynamics unitedly and reformulates classic MTS forecasting into the predictions on hypervariate graphs. Then, we propose a novel architecture Fourier Graph Neural Network (FourierGNN) by stacking our proposed Fourier Graph Operator (FGO) to perform matrix multiplications in Fourier space. FourierGNN accommodates adequate expressiveness and achieves much lower complexity, which can effectively and efficiently accomplish {the forecasting}. Besides, our theoretical analysis reveals FGO's equivalence to graph convolutions in the time domain, which further verifies the validity of FourierGNN. Extensive experiments on seven datasets have demonstrated our superior performance with higher efficiency and fewer parameters compared with state-of-the-art methods. Code is available at this repository: