Probabilistic weather forecasting is critical for decision-making in high-impact domains such as flood forecasting, energy system planning or transportation routing, where quantifying the uncertainty of a forecast -- including probabilities of extreme events -- is essential to guide important cost-benefit trade-offs and mitigation measures. Traditional probabilistic approaches rely on producing ensembles from physics-based models, which sample from a joint distribution over spatio-temporally coherent weather trajectories, but are expensive to run. An efficient alternative is to use a machine learning (ML) forecast model to generate the ensemble, however state-of-the-art ML forecast models for medium-range weather are largely trained to produce deterministic forecasts which minimise mean-squared-error. Despite improving skills scores, they lack physical consistency, a limitation that grows at longer lead times and impacts their ability to characterize the joint distribution. We introduce GenCast, a ML-based generative model for ensemble weather forecasting, trained from reanalysis data. It forecasts ensembles of trajectories for 84 weather variables, for up to 15 days at 1 degree resolution globally, taking around a minute per ensemble member on a single Cloud TPU v4 device. We show that GenCast is more skillful than ENS, a top operational ensemble forecast, for more than 96\% of all 1320 verification targets on CRPS and Ensemble-Mean RMSE, while maintaining good reliability and physically consistent power spectra. Together our results demonstrate that ML-based probabilistic weather forecasting can now outperform traditional ensemble systems at 1 degree, opening new doors to skillful, fast weather forecasts that are useful in key applications.
Understanding how well a deep generative model captures a distribution of high-dimensional data remains an important open challenge. It is especially difficult for certain model classes, such as Generative Adversarial Networks and Diffusion Models, whose models do not admit exact likelihoods. In this work, we demonstrate that generalized empirical likelihood (GEL) methods offer a family of diagnostic tools that can identify many deficiencies of deep generative models (DGMs). We show, with appropriate specification of moment conditions, that the proposed method can identify which modes have been dropped, the degree to which DGMs are mode imbalanced, and whether DGMs sufficiently capture intra-class diversity. We show how to combine techniques from Maximum Mean Discrepancy and Generalized Empirical Likelihood to create not only distribution tests that retain per-sample interpretability, but also metrics that include label information. We find that such tests predict the degree of mode dropping and mode imbalance up to 60% better than metrics such as improved precision/recall.
* Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition 2023 (Highlight, top 2.6% of
We introduce a machine-learning (ML)-based weather simulator--called "GraphCast"--which outperforms the most accurate deterministic operational medium-range weather forecasting system in the world, as well as all previous ML baselines. GraphCast is an autoregressive model, based on graph neural networks and a novel high-resolution multi-scale mesh representation, which we trained on historical weather data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)'s ERA5 reanalysis archive. It can make 10-day forecasts, at 6-hour time intervals, of five surface variables and six atmospheric variables, each at 37 vertical pressure levels, on a 0.25-degree latitude-longitude grid, which corresponds to roughly 25 x 25 kilometer resolution at the equator. Our results show GraphCast is more accurate than ECMWF's deterministic operational forecasting system, HRES, on 90.0% of the 2760 variable and lead time combinations we evaluated. GraphCast also outperforms the most accurate previous ML-based weather forecasting model on 99.2% of the 252 targets it reported. GraphCast can generate a 10-day forecast (35 gigabytes of data) in under 60 seconds on Cloud TPU v4 hardware. Unlike traditional forecasting methods, ML-based forecasting scales well with data: by training on bigger, higher quality, and more recent data, the skill of the forecasts can improve. Together these results represent a key step forward in complementing and improving weather modeling with ML, open new opportunities for fast, accurate forecasting, and help realize the promise of ML-based simulation in the physical sciences.
Fashion is one of the ways in which we show ourselves to the world. It is a reflection of our personal decisions and one of the ways in which people distinguish and represent themselves. In this paper, we focus on the fashion design process and expand computer vision for fashion beyond its current focus on western fashion. We discuss the history of Southern African se-Shweshwe fabric fashion, the collection of a se-Shweshwe dataset, and the application of sketch-to-design image generation for affordable fashion-design. The application to fashion raises both technical questions of training with small amounts of data, and also important questions for computer vision beyond fairness, in particular ethical considerations on creating and employing fashion datasets, and how computer vision supports cultural representation and might avoid algorithmic cultural appropriation.
Precipitation nowcasting, the high-resolution forecasting of precipitation up to two hours ahead, supports the real-world socio-economic needs of many sectors reliant on weather-dependent decision-making. State-of-the-art operational nowcasting methods typically advect precipitation fields with radar-based wind estimates, and struggle to capture important non-linear events such as convective initiations. Recently introduced deep learning methods use radar to directly predict future rain rates, free of physical constraints. While they accurately predict low-intensity rainfall, their operational utility is limited because their lack of constraints produces blurry nowcasts at longer lead times, yielding poor performance on more rare medium-to-heavy rain events. To address these challenges, we present a Deep Generative Model for the probabilistic nowcasting of precipitation from radar. Our model produces realistic and spatio-temporally consistent predictions over regions up to 1536 km x 1280 km and with lead times from 5-90 min ahead. In a systematic evaluation by more than fifty expert forecasters from the Met Office, our generative model ranked first for its accuracy and usefulness in 88% of cases against two competitive methods, demonstrating its decision-making value and ability to provide physical insight to real-world experts. When verified quantitatively, these nowcasts are skillful without resorting to blurring. We show that generative nowcasting can provide probabilistic predictions that improve forecast value and support operational utility, and at resolutions and lead times where alternative methods struggle.
Advances in algorithmic fairness have largely omitted sexual orientation and gender identity. We explore queer concerns in privacy, censorship, language, online safety, health, and employment to study the positive and negative effects of artificial intelligence on queer communities. These issues underscore the need for new directions in fairness research that take into account a multiplicity of considerations, from privacy preservation, context sensitivity and process fairness, to an awareness of sociotechnical impact and the increasingly important role of inclusive and participatory research processes. Most current approaches for algorithmic fairness assume that the target characteristics for fairness--frequently, race and legal gender--can be observed or recorded. Sexual orientation and gender identity are prototypical instances of unobserved characteristics, which are frequently missing, unknown or fundamentally unmeasurable. This paper highlights the importance of developing new approaches for algorithmic fairness that break away from the prevailing assumption of observed characteristics.
How sensitive should machine learning models be to input changes? We tackle the question of model smoothness and show that it is a useful inductive bias which aids generalization, adversarial robustness, generative modeling and reinforcement learning. We explore current methods of imposing smoothness constraints and observe they lack the flexibility to adapt to new tasks, they don't account for data modalities, they interact with losses, architectures and optimization in ways not yet fully understood. We conclude that new advances in the field are hinging on finding ways to incorporate data, tasks and learning into our definitions of smoothness.
This paper explores the important role of critical science, and in particular of post-colonial and decolonial theories, in understanding and shaping the ongoing advances in artificial intelligence. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is viewed as amongst the technological advances that will reshape modern societies and their relations. Whilst the design and deployment of systems that continually adapt holds the promise of far-reaching positive change, they simultaneously pose significant risks, especially to already vulnerable peoples. Values and power are central to this discussion. Decolonial theories use historical hindsight to explain patterns of power that shape our intellectual, political, economic, and social world. By embedding a decolonial critical approach within its technical practice, AI communities can develop foresight and tactics that can better align research and technology development with established ethical principles, centring vulnerable peoples who continue to bear the brunt of negative impacts of innovation and scientific progress. We highlight problematic applications that are instances of coloniality, and using a decolonial lens, submit three tactics that can form a decolonial field of artificial intelligence: creating a critical technical practice of AI, seeking reverse tutelage and reverse pedagogies, and the renewal of affective and political communities. The years ahead will usher in a wave of new scientific breakthroughs and technologies driven by AI research, making it incumbent upon AI communities to strengthen the social contract through ethical foresight and the multiplicity of intellectual perspectives available to us; ultimately supporting future technologies that enable greater well-being, with the goal of beneficence and justice for all.
* 28 Pages. Accepted, to appear in: Philosophy and Technology (405),
Springer. Submitted 16 January, Accepted 26 May 2020
A 'nowcast' is a type of weather forecast which makes predictions in the very short term, typically less than two hours - a period in which traditional numerical weather prediction can be limited. This type of weather prediction has important applications for commercial aviation; public and outdoor events; and the construction industry, power utilities, and ground transportation services that conduct much of their work outdoors. Importantly, one of the key needs for nowcasting systems is in the provision of accurate warnings of adverse weather events, such as heavy rain and flooding, for the protection of life and property in such situations. Typical nowcasting approaches are based on simple extrapolation models applied to observations, primarily rainfall radar. In this paper we review existing techniques to radar-based nowcasting from environmental sciences, as well as the statistical approaches that are applicable from the field of machine learning. Nowcasting continues to be an important component of operational systems and we believe new advances are possible with new partnerships between the environmental science and machine learning communities.
* 17 pages This work has been submitted to Monthly Weather Review.
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