Is there such thing as “Time series forecasting”? I personally don’t like this term and think that we should use a different one. Which one? Come with me in this post to find out. I understand why people use the term “Time series forecasting” – they want to show the type of data they work […]

# theory

# What about the training/test sets?

Another question my students sometimes ask is how to define the sizes for the training and test sets in a forecasting experiment. If you’ve done data mining or machine learning, you’re likely familiar with this concept. But when it comes to forecasting, there are a few nuances. Let’s discuss. First and foremost, in forecasting, the […]

# How to choose forecast horizon?

One of the questions my students sometimes ask is how to set the forecast horizon. The answer depends largely on the task at hand, but there are still some guidelines. First, the forecast horizon depends on data granularity. A “year ahead” forecast on monthly data means forecasting 12 steps ahead, while for daily data, it […]

# Are all forecasts wrong?

You’ve probably heard the phrase “all forecasts are wrong”, suggesting that the future is unpredictable and that no forecast will ever match the actual outcome. Well, this phrase is not entirely correct, and here’s why. When your favourite forecasting approach generates point forecasts, it usually provides a conditional mean. This means it’s giving you the […]

# Structure vs. Noise: A Fundamental Concept in Forecasting

One of the core ideas in statistics, which extends to many other fields including forecasting, is the concept of structure versus noise. You’ve probably heard of it, but it’s often overlooked by those without a strong quantitative background. So, let’s discuss. The core of the idea is that any data consists of two fundamental parts: […]

# Introduction to intermittent demand

Sometimes, when you need to forecast demand, you may notice that the recorded data contains zeroes. There are several possible reasons for this, but today we’ll briefly discuss one of them. Welcome to the world of “intermittent demand”! Intermittent demand is the demand that happens at irregular frequency (Svetunkov & Boylan, 2023). This means you […]

# Multistep loss functions: Trace MSE

As we discussed last time, there are two possible strategies in forecasting: recursive and direct. The latter aligns with the estimation of a model using a so-called multistep loss function, such as Mean Squared Error for h-steps-ahead forecast (MSEh). But this is not the only loss function that can be efficiently used for model estimation. […]

# Don’t forget about bias!

So far, we’ve discussed forecasts evaluation, focusing on the precision of point forecasts. However, there are many other dimensions in the evaluation that can provide useful information about your model’s performance. One of them is bias, which we’ll explore today. Introduction But before that, why should we bother with bias? Research suggests that bias is […]

# What is “forecasting”?

What is “forecasting”? Many people will have a ready answer to this question, but I would argue that not many have spent enough time thinking about it. Should we spend a couple of minutes of our time today to do that? Straight to the point: my answer to the question comes to the following definition: […]

# Best practice for forecasts evaluation for business

One question I received from my LinkedIn followers was how to evaluate forecast accuracy in practice. MAPE is wrong, but it is easy to use. In practice, we want something simple, informative and straightforward, but not all error measures are easy to calculate and interpret. What should we do? Here is my subjective view. Step […]