Hybrid methods have been shown to outperform pure statistical and pure deep learning methods at forecasting tasks and quantifying the associated uncertainty with those forecasts (prediction intervals). One example is Exponential Smoothing Recurrent Neural Network (ES-RNN), a hybrid between a statistical forecasting model and a recurrent neural network variant. ES-RNN achieves a 9.4% improvement in absolute error in the Makridakis-4 Forecasting Competition. This improvement and similar outperformance from other hybrid models have primarily been demonstrated only on univariate datasets. Difficulties with applying hybrid forecast methods to multivariate data include (i) the high computational cost involved in hyperparameter tuning for models that are not parsimonious, (ii) challenges associated with auto-correlation inherent in the data, as well as (iii) complex dependency (cross-correlation) between the covariates that may be hard to capture. This paper presents Multivariate Exponential Smoothing Long Short Term Memory (MES-LSTM), a generalized multivariate extension to ES-RNN, that overcomes these challenges. MES-LSTM utilizes a vectorized implementation. We test MES-LSTM on several aggregated coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) morbidity datasets and find our hybrid approach shows consistent, significant improvement over pure statistical and deep learning methods at forecast accuracy and prediction interval construction.
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