Knowledge-Based Dynamic Systems Modeling: A Case Study on Modeling River Water Quality

2021 
Modeling real-world phenomena is a focus of many science and engineering efforts, from ecological modeling to financial forecasting. Building an accurate model for complex and dynamic systems improves understanding of underlying processes and leads to resource efficiency. Knowledge-driven modeling builds a model based on human expertise, yet is often suboptimal. At the opposite extreme, data-driven modeling learns a model directly from data, requiring extensive data and potentially generating overfitting. We focus on an intermediate approach, model revision, in which prior knowledge and data are combined to achieve the best of both worlds. We propose a genetic model revision framework based on tree-adjoining grammar (TAG) guided genetic programming (GP), using the TAG formalism and GP operators in an effective mechanism making data-driven revisions while incorporating prior knowledge. Our framework is designed to address the high computational cost of evolutionary modeling of complex systems. Via a case study on the challenging problem of river water quality modeling, we show that the framework efficiently learns an interpretable model, with higher modeling accuracy than existing methods.
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