Styletime: Style Transfer for Synthetic Time Series Generation

Published in Proceedings of the Third ACM International Conference on AI in Finance, 2022

Neural style transfer is a powerful computer vision technique that can incorporate the artistic "style" of one image to the "content" of another. The underlying theory behind the approach relies on the assumption that the style of an image is represented by the Gram matrix of its features, which is typically extracted from pretrained convolutional neural networks (e.g., VGG-19). This idea does not straightforwardly extend to time series stylization since notions of style for two-dimensional images are not analogous to notions of style for one-dimensional time series. In this work, a novel formulation of time series style transfer is proposed for the purpose of synthetic data generation and enhancement. We introduce the concept of stylized features for time series, which is directly related to the time series realism properties, and propose a novel stylization algorithm, called StyleTime, that uses explicit feature extraction techniques to combine the underlying content (trend) of one time series with the style (distributional properties) of another. Further, we discuss evaluation metrics, and compare our work to existing state-of-the-art time series generation and augmentation schemes. To validate the effectiveness of our methods, we use stylized synthetic data as a means for data augmentation to improve the performance of recurrent neural network models on several forecasting tasks.