Bayesian model averaging for river flow prediction

Darwen, Paul J. (2019) Bayesian model averaging for river flow prediction. Applied Intelligence, 49. pp. 103-111.

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This paper explores the practical benefits of Bayesian model averaging, for a problem with limited data, namely future flow of five intermittent rivers. This problem is a useful proxy for many others, as the limited amount of data only allows tuning of small, simple models. Bayesian model averaging is theoretically a good way to cope with these difficulties, but it has not been widely used on this and similar problems. This paper uses real-world data to illustrate why. Bayesian model averaging can indeed give a better prediction, but only if the amount of data is small — if the data is so limited that it agrees a wide range of different models (instead of consistent with only a few near-identical models), then the weighted votes of those diverse models in Bayesian model averaging will (on average) give a better prediction than the single best model. In contrast, plenty of data can fit only one or a few very similar models; since they'll vote the same way, Bayesian model averaging will give no practical improvement. Even with limited data that agrees with a range of models, the improvement is not very large, but it is the direction of the improvement that stands out as a help for forecasting. Working around these caveats lets us better predict river floods, and similar problems with limited data.

Item ID: 54673
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-7497
Keywords: bayesian model averaging; mixture of experts; river flow forecasting
Funders: James Cook University
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2018 01:00
FoR Codes: 46 INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES > 4602 Artificial intelligence > 460204 Fuzzy computation @ 40%
46 INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES > 4611 Machine learning > 461199 Machine learning not elsewhere classified @ 40%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3709 Physical geography and environmental geoscience > 370901 Geomorphology and earth surface processes @ 20%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830301 Beef Cattle @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960905 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Water Management @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960913 Water Allocation and Quantification @ 30%
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