Keywords: [ Missing Data ] [ spatiotemporal graph neural networks ] [ time series imputation ]
Modeling multivariate time series as temporal signals over a (possibly dynamic) graph is an effective representational framework that allows for developing models for time series analysis. In fact, discrete sequences of graphs can be processed by autoregressive graph neural networks to recursively learn representations at each discrete point in time and space. Spatiotemporal graphs are often highly sparse, with time series characterized by multiple, concurrent, and long sequences of missing data, e.g., due to the unreliable underlying sensor network. In this context, autoregressive models can be brittle and exhibit unstable learning dynamics. The objective of this paper is, then, to tackle the problem of learning effective models to reconstruct, i.e., impute, missing data points by conditioning the reconstruction only on the available observations. In particular, we propose a novel class of attention-based architectures that, given a set of highly sparse discrete observations, learn a representation for points in time and space by exploiting a spatiotemporal propagation architecture aligned with the imputation task. Representations are trained end-to-end to reconstruct observations w.r.t. the corresponding sensor and its neighboring nodes. Compared to the state of the art, our model handles sparse data without propagating prediction errors or requiring a bidirectional model to encode forward and backward time dependencies. Empirical results on representative benchmarks show the effectiveness of the proposed method.