Hidden state models for time series
Amongst all the objectives in the study of time series, uncovering the dynamic law of its generation is probably the most important. When the underlying dynamics are not available, time series modelling consists of developing a model which best explains a sequence of observations. In this thesis, we consider hidden space models for analysing and describing time series. We first provide an introduction to the principal concepts of hidden state models and draw an analogy between hidden Markov models and state space models. Central ideas such as hidden state inference or parameter estimation are reviewed in detail. A key part of multivariate time series analysis is identifying the delay between different variables. We present a novel approach for time delay estimating in a non-stationary environment. The technique makes use of hidden Markov models and we demonstrate its application for estimating a crucial parameter in the oil industry. We then focus on hybrid models that we call dynamical local models. These models combine and generalise hidden Markov models and state space models. Probabilistic inference is unfortunately computationally intractable and we show how to make use of variational techniques for approximating the posterior distribution over the hidden state variables. Experimental simulations on synthetic and real-world data demonstrate the application of dynamical local models for segmenting a time series into regimes and providing predictive distributions.