A Variational Point Process Model for Social Event Sequences

  • Zhen Pan University of Science and Technology of China
  • Zhenya Huang University of Science and Technology of China
  • Defu Lian University of Science and Technology of China
  • Enhong Chen University of Science and Technology of China


Many events occur in real-world and social networks. Events are related to the past and there are patterns in the evolution of event sequences. Understanding the patterns can help us better predict the type and arriving time of the next event. In the literature, both feature-based approaches and generative approaches are utilized to model the event sequence. Feature-based approaches extract a variety of features, and train a regression or classification model to make a prediction. Yet, their performance is dependent on the experience-based feature exaction. Generative approaches usually assume the evolution of events follow a stochastic point process (e.g., Poisson process or its complexer variants). However, the true distribution of events is never known and the performance depends on the design of stochastic process in practice. To solve the above challenges, in this paper, we present a novel probabilistic generative model for event sequences. The model is termed Variational Event Point Process (VEPP). Our model introduces variational auto-encoder to event sequence modeling that can better use the latent information and capture the distribution over inter-arrival time and types of event sequences. Experiments on real-world datasets prove effectiveness of our proposed model.

AAAI Technical Track: AI and the Web