Forecasting nonlinear time series with a hybrid methodology
Applied Mathematics Letters (Impact Factor: 1.34). 09/2009; 22(9):1467-1470. DOI: 10.1016/j.aml.2009.02.006
a b s t r a c t In recent years, artificial neural networks (ANNs) have been used for forecasting in time series in the literature. Although it is possible to model both linear and nonlinear structures in time series by using ANNs, they are not able to handle both structures equally well. Therefore, the hybrid methodology combining ARIMA and ANN models have been used in the literature. In this study, a new hybrid approach combining Elman's Recurrent Neural Networks (ERNN) and ARIMA models is proposed. The proposed hybrid approach is applied to Canadian Lynx data and it is found that the proposed approach has the best forecasting accuracy.
Applied Mathematics Letters 22 (2009) 1467–1470
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Applied Mathematics Letters
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/aml
Forecasting nonlinear time series with a hybrid methodology
Cagdas Hakan Aladag
, Erol Egrioglu
, Cem Kadilar
Department of Statistics, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey
Department of Statistics, Ondokuz Mayis University, Samsun, Turkey
a r t i c l e i n f o
Received 4 February 2009
Accepted 4 February 2009
Canadian lynx data
Recurrent neural networks
Time series forecasting
a b s t r a c t
In recent years, artificial neural networks (ANNs) have been used for forecasting in time
series in the literature. Although it is possible to model both linear and nonlinear structures
in time series by using ANNs, they are not able to handle both structures equally well.
Therefore, the hybrid methodology combining ARIMA and ANN models have been used
in the literature. In this study, a new hybrid approach combining Elman’s Recurrent Neural
Networks (ERNN) and ARIMA models is proposed. The proposed hybrid approach is applied
to Canadian Lynx data and it is found that the proposed approach has the best forecasting
© 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
In recent years, the artificial neural networks (ANN) have been applied to many areas of statistics. One of these areas is
time series forecasting . Since ANN can model both nonlinear and linear structures of time series, using neural networks
in forecasting can give better results than the other methods. Zhang et al.  review the literature of forecasting time series
Both theoretical and empirical findings in the literature show that combining different methods can be an affective and
efficient way to improve forecasts. Therefore, hybrid ARIMA and ANNs methods have been used for modeling both linear and
nonlinear patterns equally well. Pai and Lin  proposed hybrid ARIMA and support vector machines model. Tseng et al. 
combined seasonal time series ARIMA model and feedforward neural network (FNN). Zhang  proposed a hybrid ARIMA
and FNN model, composed of linear and nonlinear components as follows:
denotes original time series, L
denotes the linear component and N
denotes the nonlinear component. Linear
component is estimated by ARIMA model and residuals obtained from the ARIMA model
are estimated by FNN. Here
is the forecasting value for time t of the time series y
by ARIMA. Zhang  claims that any
ARIMA model can be selected for the data as this does not affect the final forecast accuracy.
With n input nodes, the ANN model for the residuals can be written as
= f (e
, . . . , e
) + ε
Corresponding author. Tel.: +90 312 2992016.
E-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org (C.H. Aladag), email@example.com (E. Egrioglu), firstname.lastname@example.org (C. Kadilar).
0893-9659/$ – see front matter © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1468 C.H. Aladag et al. / Applied Mathematics Letters 22 (2009) 1467–1470
external input neurons
Fig. 1. Structure of an ERNN model .
where f is a nonlinear function determined by the FNN and ε
is the random error. The estimation of e
by (3) will yield
the forecasting of nonlinear component of time series, N
. By this way, forecasting values of the time series are obtained as
In the next section, we modify Zhang’s hybrid approach mentioned above. To obtain
, we propose to use ERNN instead of
FNN. In Section 3, the proposed hybrid method is applied to Canadian lynx data which is also used in Zhang  and Kajitani
et al. . By this way, we can compare the forecasting accuracy of the proposed method with the alternative methods. In
the last section, we discuss the results of the application.
2. The proposed hybrid method
ARIMA and seasonal ARIMA (SARIMA) models were introduced by Box and Jenkins  and these models have recently
been used successfully in forecasting linear time series. However, it is well known that the approximation of ARIMA models
to complex nonlinear problems is not adequate . Therefore, nonlinear time series have been forecasted by using nonlinear
methods like ANNs. Although FNN has been used in many applications of ANNs, it is also possible to use recurrent neural
networks. One type of recurrent neural networks is ERNN which was introduced by Elman . According to the general
principle of the recurrent networks, there is a feedback from the outputs of some neurons in the hidden layer to neurons
in the context layer which seems to be an additional input layer. In the case of comparison with other type of multilayered
network, the most important advantage of ERNN is a robust feature extraction ability, which provides feedback connections
from the hidden layer to a context layer . The structure of an ERNN is illustrated in Fig. 1.
Zhang ’s hybrid approach uses FNN to estimate N
in (1). Since ERNN contains the context layer, it is certain that using
ERNN, instead of FNN, can improve forecasting accuracy. Therefore, we propose a new hybrid approach as follows:
Step 1. Box–Jenkins models are used to analyze the linear part of the problem. That is,
is obtained by using Box–Jenkins
Step 2. ERNN model is developed to fit the residuals from the Box–Jenkins models. That is,
is obtained by using ERNN.
Step 3. Using (4), forecasts of the hybrid method are obtained by adding the estimates of linear and nonlinear components
of the time series, found in Step 1 and Step 2, respectively.
The proposed hybrid method is applied to Canadian lynx data consisting of the set of annual numbers of lynx trappings
in the Mackenzie River District of North–West Canada for the period from 1821 to 1934. Canada lynx data, which is plotted
in Fig. 2, was also examined by Zhang  and Kajitani et al. , beyond the other various studies in the time series literature.
We would like to note that we use the logarithms (to the base 10) of the data in the analysis.
The proposed hybrid method is applied to the data as follows:
Firstly, Box–Jenkins method is used for estimating linear part of the problem. The Canadian lynx data shows a periodicity
of approximately 10 years. Because of this, the data is fitted by SARIMA (2, 0, 0) × (0, 1, 1)
model. We check that this
model satisfies all statistical assumptions such as no autocorrelation, homoskedasticity, etc. using Box–Pierce and White
Tests. Secondly, residuals obtained from SARIMA (2, 0, 0) × (0, 1, 1)
model are estimated by the ERNN model. Note that
the residuals are divided into training set (100 data points) and test set (last 14 data points). Number of input nodes is varied
from 1 to 12, number of hidden layer nodes is also varied from 1 to 12 and by this way 114 architectures are examined totally.
We find that the most appropriate ERNN architecture is 4 × 4 × 1. Thirdly, forecasts of last 14 years were obtained using
C.H. Aladag et al. / Applied Mathematics Letters 22 (2009) 1467–1470 1469
Fig. 2. Canadian lynx data series (1821–1934).
Fig. 3. Hybrid prediction of Canadian lynx data.
Canadian lynx data forecasting results.
Zhang  Hybrid 0.017
Kajitani  SETAR 0.014
Proposed Hybrid 0.009
the proposed hybrid method. Finally, these forecasting values for last 14 years are shown in Fig. 3. Solid line represents the
original time series data and dot line represents the forecasts.
The mean square error (MSE) values for the last 14 observations of the proposed approach, Zhang  and Kajitani et al. 
are summarized in Table 1.
It is observed from Table 1 that the MSE of the proposed method is the smallest. Thus, it is concluded that the proposed
approach has the best forecasting values for this widely used data.
Since artificial neural networks (ANN) can model both nonlinear and linear structures of time series, using ANN can
give better results than other methods in forecasting. Therefore, in the literature, there have been many studies in which
time series are solved by using ANN in recent years [10,2,11]. One type of ANN is recurrent neural network and one of the
recurrent nets is ERNN.
Statisticians have studied to obtain better forecasts for long years and by these studies hybrid methods have been
improved in the literature. In this paper, we consider that using ERNN instead of FNN in Zhang’s hybrid method should
improve the forecasting accuracy. Therefore, we propose a hybrid ARIMA and recurrent neural network model. It is observed
that the proposed method yields better result than other methods for Canadian lynx data. It is well known that forecasting
accuracy of ERNN is better than FNN, because of containing a context layer. Since ERNN is used in the proposed hybrid
approach, as expected this approach is found better than Zhang ’s hybrid approach. In the future work we hope to increase
the forecasting accuracy by changing the type of ANN used in hybrid methods such as Jordan recurrent neural networks .
 Y. Katijani, W.K. Hipel, A.I. Mcleod, Forecasting nonlinear time series with feedforward neural networks: A case study of Canadian lynx data, Journal
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 P.F. Pai, C.S. Lin, A hybrid ARIMA and support vector machines model in stock price forecasting, The International journal of Management Science 33
 F.M. Tseng, H.C. Yu, G.H. Tzeng, Combining neural network model with seasonal time series ARIMA model, Technological Forecasting & Social Change
69 (2002) 71–87.
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 G.E.P. Box, G.M. Jenkins, Time Series Analysis: Forecasting and Control, Holdan-Day, San Francisco, CA, 1976.
 J.L. Elman, Finding structure in time, Cognitive Science 14 (1990) 179–211.
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 M.I. Jordan, Attractor dynamics and parallelism in a connectionist sequential machine, in: Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (1986).
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