Predicting User Activity Level In Point Processes With Mass Transport Equation

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 30 (NIPS 2017)

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Yichen Wang, Xiaojing Ye, Hongyuan Zha, Le Song


Point processes are powerful tools to model user activities and have a plethora of applications in social sciences. Predicting user activities based on point processes is a central problem. However, existing works are mostly problem specific, use heuristics, or simplify the stochastic nature of point processes. In this paper, we propose a framework that provides an unbiased estimator of the probability mass function of point processes. In particular, we design a key reformulation of the prediction problem, and further derive a differential-difference equation to compute a conditional probability mass function. Our framework is applicable to general point processes and prediction tasks, and achieves superb predictive and efficiency performance in diverse real-world applications compared to state-of-arts.