On the Predictive Accuracy of Neural Temporal Point Process Models for Continuous-time Event Data

Souhaib Ben Taieb, Tanguy Bosser
(2023) Transactions on Machine Learning Research(To appear)


Temporal Point Processes (TPPs) serve as the standard mathematical framework for modeling asynchronous event sequences in continuous time. However, classical TPP models are often constrained by strong assumptions, limiting their ability to capture complex real-world event dynamics. To overcome this limitation, researchers have proposed Neural TPPs, which leverage neural network parametrizations to offer more flexible and efficient modeling. While recent studies demonstrate the effectiveness of Neural TPPs, they often lack a unified setup, relying on different baselines, datasets, and experimental configurations. This makes it challenging to identify the key factors driving improvements in predictive accuracy, hindering research progress. To bridge this gap, we present a comprehensive large-scale experimental study that systematically evaluates the predictive accuracy of state-of-the-art neural TPP models. Our study encompasses multiple real-world and synthetic event sequence datasets, following a carefully designed unified setup. We thoroughly investigate the influence of major architectural components such as event encoding, history encoder, and decoder parametrization on both time and mark prediction tasks. Additionally, we delve into the less explored area of probabilistic calibration for neural TPP models. By analyzing our results, we draw insightful conclusions regarding the significance of history size and the impact of architectural components on predictive accuracy. Furthermore, we shed light on the miscalibration of mark distributions in neural TPP models. Our study aims to provide valuable insights into the performance and characteristics of neural TPP models, contributing to a better understanding of their strengths and limitations.