We know humans learn from their past experiences and machines follow instructions given by humans, but what if humans can train the machines to learn from the past data. Won’t that be quicker? Well, that is what machine learning is.

The main goal of my summer research project was to work out the applicability of machine learning methods like artificial neural networks and random forests in time series forecasting. The aim was also to compare the the two machine learning methods based on their performances and robustness.

Time series is a sequence of observations measured over time. The goal of time series analysis is to find patterns in the data and use it for predictions. Traditional time series analysis methods assume a linear relationship in time series models which limits their capacity to model complex non-linear models which are commonly encountered in reality. This is where machine learning kicks in. Machine learning deals with complex non-linear models. It learns the data, builds the prediction model and when the new data point comes in, it can easily predict for it.

Machine learning has a variety of applications; It is due to machine learning that we find product recommendations for entertainment series or movies when we use Netflix. Secondly, machine learning algorithms are widely used by a various applications of speech recognition, like siri, google assistant, alexa.

I come from a background of applied statistics, which mainly revolves around using computational skills and contemporary statistical methods to analyze real world data. I developed an interest in statistics after I had completed half of my degree in Information technology. I realized that I really enjoyed problem solving and when we talk about problem solving, I can only think of mathematics. Since I enjoyed coding in computer science as well, I enrolled myself into applied statistics.

I feel that participating in this summer research project was one of my best achievements till now. There are many skills which I think I learnt from this project. I had an amazing journey and also realized that it is the right attitude and consistent effort which keeps a person going!!

Thank you for reading!

Gaurangi Gupta
Macquarie University

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