Spatio-temporal pattern discovery and hypothesis exploration using a delay reconstruction approach

Campbell, Alexander B. (2008) Spatio-temporal pattern discovery and hypothesis exploration using a delay reconstruction approach. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This thesis investigates the computer-based modelling and simulation of complex geospatial phenomena. Geospatial systems are real world processes which extend over some meaningful extent of the Earth's surface, such as cities and fisheries. There are many problems that require urgent attention in this domain (for example relating to sustainability) but despite increasing amounts of data and computational power there is a significant gap between the potential for model-based analyses and their actual impact on real world policy and planning. Analytical methods are confounded by the high dimensionality and nonlinearity of spatio-temporal systems and/or are hard to relate to meaningful policy decisions. Simulation-based approaches on the other hand are more heuristic and policy oriented in nature, but they are difficult to validate and almost always over-fit the data: although a given model can be calibrated on a given set of data, it usually performs very poorly on new unseen data sets. The central contribution of this thesis is a framework which is formally grounded and able to be rigourously validated, yet at the same time is interpretable in terms of real world phenomena and thus has a strong connection to domain knowledge. The scope of the thesis spans both theory and practice, and three specific contributions range along this span. Starting at the theoretical end, the first contribution concerns the conceptual and theoretical basis of the framework, which is a technique known as delay reconstruction. The underlying theory is rooted in the rather technical field of dynamical systems (itself largely based on differential topology), which has hindered its wider application and the formation of strong links with other areas. Therefore, the first contribution is an exposition of delay reconstruction in non-technical language, with a focus on explaining how some recent extensions to this theory make the concept far more widely applicable than is often assumed. The second contribution uses this theoretical foundation to develop a practical, unified framework for pattern discovery and hypothesis exploration in geo-spatial data. The central aspect of this framework is the linking of delay reconstruction with domain knowledge. This is done via the notion that determinism is not an on-off quantity, but rather that a given data set may be ascribed a particular 'degree' of determinism, and that that degree may be increased through manipulation of the data set using domain knowledge. This leads to a framework which can handle spatiotemporally complex (including multi-scale) data sets, is sensitive to the amount of data that is available, and is naturally geared to be used interactively with qualitative feedback conveyed to the user via geometry. The framework is complementary to other techniques in that it forms a scaffold within which almost all modelling approaches - including agent-based modelling - can be cast as particular kinds of 'manipulations' of the data, and as such are easily integrated. The third contribution examines the practical efficacy of the framework in a real world case study. This involves a high resolution spatio-temporal record of fishcatch data from trawlers operating in a large fishery. The study is used to test two fundamental capabilities of the framework: (i) whether real world spatio-temporal phenomena can be identified in the degree-of-determinism signature of the data set, (ii) whether the determinism-level can then be increased by manipulating the data in response to this phenomena. One of the main outcomes of this study is a clear identification of the influence of the lunar cycle on the behaviour of Tiger and Endeavour prawns. The framework allows for this to be 'non-destructively subtracted', increasing the detect-ability of further phenomena.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

549 since deposited on 10 Feb 2009
4 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 17676
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Pham, Binh, Maeder, Anthony, & Tian, Yuchu
Keywords: delay reconstruction, attractor reconstruction, geospatial, spatio-temporal, time series, model selection, validation, pattern discovery, agent-based, hypothesis exploration
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > School of Software Engineering & Data Communications
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 10 Feb 2009 05:19
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:51

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page