Getting started with neural networks for forecasting

I need some resources to get started on using neural networks for time series forecasting. I am wary of implementing some paper and then finding out that they have greatly over stated the potential of their methods. So if you have experience with the methods you are suggesting it will be even more awesome.

Answer

Here’s a good quick introduction:
intro to neural networks.
Note that R has neural-network functionality, so no need to spend any time implementing NN yourself until you’ve given it a spin and decided it looks promising for your application.

Neural networks are not obsolete, but they have gone through a couple of hype cycles, and then after realizing they don’t do everything as was claimed, their reputation goes into a trough for a while (we’re currently in one of those). Neural networks are good at certain tasks, and generally are better for tasks in which a human can do a similar task, but cannot explain exactly how they do it.

Neural networks do not give you much insight into the system you’re using them to analyze, even after they are trained and operating well. That is, they can predict what will happen (for some systems), but not tell you why. In some cases, that is fine. In others, that is not fine. Generally, if you want or especially if you already have an understanding of the rules of how something works, you can use other techniques.

But, for certain tasks, they work well.

For time-series in particular, see this question’s discussion:
Proper way of using recurrent neural network for time series analysis

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