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Describing Time Series in Words. V. Shiv Naga Prasad. Generating English Summaries of Time Series Data Using the Gricean Maxims - Somayajulu G. Sripada, Ehud Reiter, Jim Hunter and Jin Yu. What not to do.

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describing time series in words

Describing Time Series in Words

V. Shiv Naga Prasad

Generating English Summaries of Time Series Data Using the Gricean Maxims - Somayajulu G. Sripada, Ehud Reiter, Jim Hunter and Jin Yu

what not to do
What not to do
  • MANAGEMENT SPEAK: The procedure which you have referenced is the correctly referenced procedure for the procedure which you referenced and which I am referencing in my reply about the procedure in which your original inquiry was referenced.

-- IS Survivalist Bill Murray swears he received this response from a not-to-be-named standards body

generating textual summaries
Generating Textual Summaries
  • What is to be told?
    • select salient trends in data.
  • How to express it?
    • Lingua franca of the domain.
  • Generate the text.
example of issues
Example of Issues
  • Many things can be described.
  • Many ways of describing.
what is significant
What is significant?

Difficult question

This is actually an artifact and should be suppressed during summary.

gricean maxims of communication
Gricean Maxims of Communication
  • Quality – stick to facts.
  • Quantity – neither too less nor too much.
  • Relevance for the user.
  • Manner – be concise and consistent.
  • Segment sequence into linear segments.
  • Describe end-points of segments.

Actual values better than estimates (quality).

Use range to show uncertainity.

Line of best fit

Estimated value

Actual value

01-06 0.5-1.5 Increasing 4.5-5.5


Eliminate artifacts – maybe with interpolation

  • Small changes might not be important.
  • This influences:
    • Segmentation.
    • Scale of description.
  • Be consistent – use standard adjectives and ordering.

01-06 0.5-1.5 Increasing 4.5-5.5

06-09 4.5-5.5 Steady

09-13 4.5-5.5 Decreasing 0-0.5

  • Avoid obscurity – omit eventless segments.

01-06 0.5-1.5 Increasing 4.5-5.5

09-13 4.5-5.5 Decreasing 0-0.5

evaluation results for sumtime mousam
Evaluation Results for SumTime-Mousam
  • Facts were correctly described.
  • Humans eliminated much more irrelevant facts.
  • System still rookie in terms of linguistic elegance:
    • Connectives (e.g. then~and).
    • Repeated use of “and”.
  • Currently describes linear trends
    • how about specific patterns?
  • Differentiating between anomalies and artifacts is difficult.
  • Is textual description better than graphics?
    • Using text-to-speech and textual summaries audio can be used as an additional modality.
    • For visually impaired, summaries in brail would be useful.