Thursday, September 11, 2014

Towards Winning GEFCom2014 - Six Must Read Recommendations before Evaluation Period Starts

GEFCom2014 had a super strong start. Within the first 4 weeks, we have had 225, 138, 126 and 135 solvers in the load, price, wind and solar tracks respectively. Totally 345 people have joined the LinkedIn group Global Energy Forecasting Competition. While many winning teams of GEFCom2012 came back to GEFCom2014 with very strong performance, several new faces also topped some of the tasks. Having been monitoring the competition from the back end, I am so excited about the ups and downs on the leaderboards. I really wish I could join the game in person.

The evaluation period of GEFCom2014 is starting in less than 2 days. I'd like to offer some recommendations, so that the contestants fully understand what makes a winning solution. Some of them may be overlapping with my previous post, GEFCom2014 is ON - 8 Tips before You Join the Game, but I think it's important to cover them again here.

Monday, September 8, 2014

I'm Hiring AGAIN, for BigDEAL

I have been building my lab since joining UNC Charlotte last year. I named the lab "BigDEAL", for Big Data Energy Analytics Laboratory. Over the past 12 months, the BigDEAL has attracted more than $2.5M of donations and research funding from 5 industry donors and 9 project sponsors. The members of the BigDEAL have completed three projects and is currently working on three other projects. For more information, please visit the BigDEAL webpage.

Now I'm hiring again, for BigDEAL.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Load Forecasting Terminology: 32 Terms in 12 Posts

Using the precise terminology is a necessary step towards effective communication. As mentioned in my Foresight article "Energy Forecasting: Past, Present and Future", the forecasting practice has a long history in the utility industry, in fact, over 100 years. While load forecasting plays a vital role in many business applications, the usage of different terms is quite messy. Everyone may have his/her own definition of everything in this area. I'm creating a new label "terminology" to host a series of posts on load forecasting terminology. I would like to cover as many ambiguous terms as possible. Here is a tentative list:
  1. Load, demand, energy and power
  2. Forecasting and backcasting
  3. Forecasting and planning
  4. Forecasting, forecast and forecaster 
  5. Very short, short, medium and long term load forecasting
  6. Model, variable, parameter and function
  7. Linear models and linear relationship
  8. Training, validation and test
  9. Weather normalization and load normalization
  10. Prediction interval and confidence interval
  11. Probability forecasting and probabilistic forecasting
  12. Reliability (for planning) and reliability (for forecasting)
  13. Quantile, quartile and percentile
  14. Resolution (for time series data) and resolution (for probabilistic forecasts)
  15. Forecasting and data mining
  16. Econometric model and statistical model
  17. Coincidence factor and diversity factor
  18. Billing month and calendar month
If you can think of other confusing terms, please let me know. I will add the new ones after #12. As I'm moving along, I will also add links to the new posts. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Job Opening at SCE: Senior Integrated Demand Analysis and Forecasting Planner

Posting a job for SCE. The position is in the same team as the previous SCE jobs I posted here. If you are interested, you can search through SCE job site using the job number 71008358. Alternatively, you can search under "Senior Integrated Demand Analysis and Forecasting Planner". The posting will be up and open until Sept. 10th.

Monday, September 1, 2014

IIF Student Forecasting Awards for Energy Analytics

Today is Labor Day. Thanks to the International Institute of Forecasters (IIF), I received my first Labor Day gift, an email notification of the IIF student forecasting award for five years.

While the interested readers can get the details from the IIF website, here are a few highlights:

  • The awards are offered by the IIF to the top-performing students in undergraduate and graduate level forecasting courses. 
  • No more than 20 awards are available across all universities. 
  • No more than one subject can be eligible for an IIF award at the same university. 
  • Each star student will receive $100, a Certificate of Achievement from the IIF, and one year’s free membership of the Institute, with all its attendant benefits. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

GEFCom2014 is ON - 8 Tips before You Join the Game

After one full year of planning and implementation, I'm pleased to announce that the Global Energy Forecasting Competition 2014 is ON. Please visit to look for the four tracks.

For now, I will defer all the thanks to the end of the competition. (BTW, it will have to be a long thank-you letter, because so many people have devoted so many days and nights to set up this competition.) Instead, I would spend my last sleepless night before the competition to provide a few tips and instructions to the GEFCom2014 contestants:

Friday, August 8, 2014

Job Opening at Southern Company: Load Research Analyst

Posting another job for another friend at Southern Company. This load research team and the forecasting team that I posted a job for earlier are under the same group. The two teams work closely with each other. Again, you will be working with friendly colleagues. The hiring manager of this load research team is very open-minded and very nice to work with. All interested candidates should apply online:

Job Opening at Southern Company: Forecasting Analyst

Posting a job description for a friend of mine at Southern Company. Working with this group for several years, I know virtually everyone over there. One of my former students has been there for over three years. The colleagues in this group are very friendly. And the hiring manager is super considerate. Overall it is a very nice working environment. All interested candidates should apply on-line:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

10 Recommended Papers for GEFCom2014 Contestants

Update 8/14/2014: Thanks to Rob Hyndman, who generously put Rafal Weron's forthcoming IJF paper on the web. Now we have a super well-written review paper on price forecasting on the list as Ref [11]. This paper will be published in the coming issue of International Journal of Forecasting.

The Global Energy Forecasting Competition 2014 (GEFCom2014) is the first probabilistic forecasting competition in the power and energy industry. As of today, over 200 people from more than 40 countries have signed up the interest list. To help the folks quickly get use to the theme of this competition, we organizers collaboratively picked up 10 recommended papers for GEFCom2014 contestants.

Ref [1-3] are general readings on probabilistic forecasting, energy forecasting and the previous competition respectively. Ref [4-6], Ref [7-8] and Ref [9-10] are for load, wind and solar forecasting respectively. We did not recommend any specific paper on probabilistic price forecasting. The contestants on the price forecasting track may refer to the recommended papers on load and wind forecasting. The literature on probabilistic wind power forecasting is dominantly more extensive and mature than the other three categories. Therefore, we would highly recommend the contestants to read Ref [7-8] regardless which track to work on. Shu and I are preparing the tutorial review on probabilistic load forecasting (Ref [4]), which will serve as a general guideline as well.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

13 Lucky Tips for Energy Forecasting

I recently wrote this article for Intelligent Utility. They used the title "13 lucky tips to juggle the analytics of forecasting". I have been using the INFORMS definition of analytics, which includes descriptive analytics (or summary statistics), predictive analytics (or forecasting) and prescriptive analytics (or optimization). Since forecasting is part of analytics, I'm using "13 lucky tips for energy forecasting" here to be consistent with the definition from INFORMS.

Published in Intelligent Utility Magazine July/Aug 2014

Tao Hong, "How to Juggle the Analytics of Forecasting: 13 Lucky Tips", Intelligent Utility, pp. 11-13, July/August, 2014

How to Juggle the Analytics of Forecasting: 13 Lucky Tips

Tao Hong

Energy forecasting is one of those areas of great importance to electric grid that gets little attention—even from power industry insiders. But you need to know how to make the best of your forecasting process. Here are 13 tips to get you started.