Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Forecasting, Forecast and Forecaster

The story starts with my graduate school days. After my PhD defense, Dr. David Dickey, who was one of the members on my doctoral committee, handed me a printout of my draft dissertation. Based on the edits, I can tell that he read it in detail and revised it carefully. One of the many things he suggested was to change "short term load forecaster" to "short term load forecasting system" to represent the solution, or to "short term load forecasting model" to represent the mathematical formula that captures the relationship between load and other explanatory variables.

It was probably the only time I didn't follow his advice. My reason was that some papers in the load forecasting literature used the term "load forecaster" to represent a load forecasting system. For instance, ANNSTLF, a system developed 15 years ago by EPRI, is the acronym of "Artificial Neural Network Short Term Load Forecaster".

In Forecasting and Backcasting and Forecasting and Planning, we have already elaborated what forecasting means. Here I want to emphasize that forecasting is the "process" of figuring out how the future will look like. Forecast, namely "how the future will look like", is the result of a forecasting process. The person who develops the forecast is the forecaster, or forecasting analyst. The solution used by the forecaster is a forecasting system. The forecasting system may include a set of forecasting models, an algorithm to build and/or select the best model, and other functions such as ETL (extraction, transformation and loading) and BI (business intelligence).

Putting these terms into one sentence, we have
The forecasters (forecasting analysts) at NCEMC are using a state-of-the-art forecasting system designed by Tao to build forecasting models and to produce forecasts in their short and long term load forecasting processes.
Reading my dissertation again, I think Dr. Dickey was right. I should have avoided the ambiguity between a forecasting analyst and forecasting system.

Back to Load Forecasting Terminology.

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