Design and Maintenance of Event Forecasting Systems
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With significant growth in modern forms of communication such as social media and micro- blogs we are able to gain a real-time understanding into events happening in many parts of the world. In addition, these modern forms of communication have helped shed light into the increasing instabilities across the world via the design of anticipatory intelligence systems [45, 43, 20] that can forecast population level events like civil unrest, disease occurrences with reasonable accuracy. Event forecasting systems are generally prone to become outdated (model drift) as they fail to keep-up with constantly changing patterns and thus require regular re-training in order to sustain their accuracy and reliability. In this dissertation we try to address some of the issues associated with design and maintenance of event forecasting systems in general. We propose and showcase performance results for a drift adaptation technique in event forecasting systems and also build a hybrid system for event coding which is cognizant of and seeks human intervention in uncertain prediction contexts to maintain a good balance between prediction-fidelity and cost of human effort. Specifically we identify several micro-tasks for event coding and build separate pipelines for each with uncertainty estimation capabilities and thereby be able to seek human feedback whenever required for each micro-task independent of the rest.
General Audience Abstract
Event forecasting systems help reduce violence, loss/damage to humans and property. They find applicability in supply chain management, prioritizing citizen grievances, designing mea- sures to control violence and minimize disruptions and also in applications like health/tourism by providing timely travel alerts. Several issues exist with the design and maintenance of such event forecasting systems in general. Predictions from such systems may drift away from ground reality over time if not adapted to various shifts (or changes) in event occurrence patterns in real-time. A continuous source of ground-truth events is of paramount necessity for the continuous maintenance of forecasting systems. However ground-truth events used for training may not be reliable but often information about their uncertainty is not reflected in the systems that are used to build the ground truth. This dissertation focuses on addressing such issues pertaining to design and maintenance of event forecasting systems. We propose a framework for online drift-adaptation and also build machine learning methods capable of modeling and capturing uncertainty in event detection systems. Finally we propose and built a hybrid event coding system that can capture the best of both automated and manual event coders. We breakdown the overall event coding pipeline into several micro-tasks and propose individual methods for each micro-task. Each method is built with the capability to know what it doesn't know and thus is capable of balancing quality vs throughput based on available human resources.
- Doctoral Dissertations