Diffusion Forecasting Model with Basis Functions from QR-Decomposition

John Harlim, Haizhao Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The diffusion forecasting is a nonparametric approach that provably solves the Fokker–Planck PDE corresponding to Itô diffusion without knowing the underlying equation. The key idea of this method is to approximate the solution of the Fokker–Planck equation with a discrete representation of the shift (Koopman) operator on a set of basis functions generated via the diffusion maps algorithm. While the choice of these basis functions is provably optimal under appropriate conditions, computing these basis functions is quite expensive since it requires the eigendecomposition of an N× N diffusion matrix, where N denotes the data size and could be very large. For large-scale forecasting problems, only a few leading eigenvectors are computationally achievable. To overcome this computational bottleneck, a new set of basis functions constructed by orthonormalizing selected columns of the diffusion matrix and its leading eigenvectors is proposed. This computation can be carried out efficiently via the unpivoted Householder QR factorization. The efficiency and effectiveness of the proposed algorithm will be shown in both deterministically chaotic and stochastic dynamical systems; in the former case, the superiority of the proposed basis functions over purely eigenvectors is significant, while in the latter case forecasting accuracy is improved relative to using a purely small number of eigenvectors. Supporting arguments will be provided on three- and six-dimensional chaotic ODEs, a three-dimensional SDE that mimics turbulent systems, and also on the two spatial modes associated with the boreal winter Madden–Julian Oscillation obtained from applying the Nonlinear Laplacian Spectral Analysis on the measured Outgoing Longwave Radiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)847-872
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Nonlinear Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Engineering(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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