Nikhil Muralidhar, Anika Tabassum, Liangzhe Chen, Naren Ramakrishnan


Recent hurricane events have caused unprecedented amounts of damage on critical infrastructure systems and have severely threatened our public safety and economic health. The most observable (and severe) impact of these hurricanes is the loss of electric power in many regions, which causes breakdowns in essential public services. Understanding power outages and how they evolve during a hurricane provides insights on how to reduce outages in the future, and how to improve the robustness of the underlying critical infrastructure systems. In this article, we propose a novel scalable segmentation with explanations framework to help experts understand such datasets. Our method, CnR (Cut-n-Reveal), first finds a segmentation of the outage sequences based on the temporal variations of the power outage failure process so as to capture major pattern changes. This temporal segmentation procedure is capable of accounting for both the spatial and temporal correlations of the underlying power outage process. We then propose a novel explanation optimization formulation to find an intuitive explanation of the segmentation such that the explanation highlights the culprit time series of the change in each segment. Through extensive experiments, we show that our method consistently outperforms competitors in multiple real datasets with ground truth. We further study real county-level power outage data from several recent hurricanes (Matthew, Harvey, Irma) and show that CnR recovers important, non-trivial, and actionable patterns for domain experts, whereas baselines typically do not give meaningful results.


Naren Ramakrishnan

Anika Tabassum

Nikhil Muralidhar

Publication Details

Date of publication:
July 28, 2020
ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology
Page number(s):
Issue Number:
Publication note:

Nikhil Muralidhar, Anika Tabassum, Liangzhe Chen, Supriya Chinthavali, Naren Ramakrishnan, B. Aditya Prakash: Cut-n-Reveal: Time Series Segmentations with Explanations. ACM Trans. Intell. Syst. Technol. 11(5): 53:1-53:26 (2020)