Time Series of Price Anomaly Detection

Photo credit: PixabayTime Series of Price Anomaly DetectionAnomaly detection detects data points in data that does not fit well with the rest of the data.

Susan LiBlockedUnblockFollowFollowingJan 23Also known as outlier detection, anomaly detection is a data mining process used to determine types of anomalies found in a data set and to determine details about their occurrences.

Automatic anomaly detection is critical in today’s world where the sheer volume of data makes it impossible to tag outliers manually.

Auto anomaly detection has a wide range of applications such as fraud detection, system health monitoring, fault detection, and event detection systems in sensor networks, and so on.

But I would like to apply anomaly detection to hotel room prices.

The reason is somewhat selfish.

Have you had experience that, lets say, you travel to a certain destination for business regularly and you always stay at the same hotel.

While most of the time, the room rate is almost similar but occasionally for the same hotel, same room type, the rate is unacceptably high, and you’d have to change to another hotel because your travel allowance does not cover that rate.

I had been through this several times and this makes me think, what if we could create a model to detect this kind of price anomaly automatically?Of course there are circumstance that some anomaly happens only once a life time and we have known them in advance and probably it will not happen the same time in the future years, such as the ridiculous hotel prices in Atlanta on February 2 to February 4, 2019.

Figure 1In this post, I will explore different anomaly detection techniques and our goal is to search for anomalies in the time series of hotel room prices with unsupervised learning.

Let’s get started!The DataIt is very hard to get the data, I was able to get some but the data is not perfect.

The data we are going to use is a subset of Personalize Expedia Hotel Searches data set that can be found here.

We are going to slice a subset of the training.

csv set like so:Select one single hotel which has the most data point property_id = 104517 .

Select visitor_location_country_id = 219 , as we know from the another analysis that country id 219 is the Unites States.

The reason we do that is to unify the price_usd column.

Since different countries have different conventions regarding displaying taxes and fees and the value may be per night or for the whole stay.

And we know that price displayed to US visitors is always per night and without taxes.

Select search_room_count = 1.

Select the features we need: date_time, price_usd, srch_booking_window, srch_saturday_night_bool.

expedia = pd.


csv')df = expedia.

loc[expedia['prop_id'] == 104517]df = df.

loc[df['srch_room_count'] == 1]df = df.

loc[df['visitor_location_country_id'] == 219]df = df[['date_time', 'price_usd', 'srch_booking_window', 'srch_saturday_night_bool']]After slice and dice, this is the data we will be working with:df.

info()Figure 2df['price_usd'].

describe()At this point, we have detected one extreme anomaly which was the Max price_usd at 5584.

If an individual data instance can be considered as anomalous with respect to the rest of the data, we call it Point Anomalies (e.


purchase with large transaction value).

We could go back to check the log to see what was it about.

After a little bit investigation, I guess it was either a mistake or user searched a presidential suite by accident and had no intention to book or view.

In order to find more anomalies that are not extreme, I decided to remove this one.


loc[(expedia['price_usd'] == 5584) & (expedia['visitor_location_country_id'] == 219)]Figure 3df = df.

loc[df['price_usd'] < 5584]At this point, I am sure you have found that we are missing something, that is, we do not know what room type a user searched for, the price for a standard room could be very different with the price for a King bed room with Ocean View.

Keep this in mind, for the demonstration purpose, we have to continue.

Time Series Visualizationsdf.

plot(x='date_time', y='price_usd', figsize=(12,6))plt.

xlabel('Date time')plt.

ylabel('Price in USD')plt.

title('Time Series of room price by date time of search');Figure 4a = df.

loc[df['srch_saturday_night_bool'] == 0, 'price_usd']b = df.

loc[df['srch_saturday_night_bool'] == 1, 'price_usd']plt.

figure(figsize=(10, 6))plt.

hist(a, bins = 50, alpha=0.

5, label='Search Non-Sat Night')plt.

hist(b, bins = 50, alpha=0.

5, label='Search Sat Night')plt.

legend(loc='upper right')plt.



show();Figure 5In general, the price is more stable and lower when searching Non-Saturday night.

And the price goes up when searching Saturday night.

Seems this property gets popular during the weekend.

Clustering-Based Anomaly Detectionk-means algorithmk-means is a widely used clustering algorithm.

It creates ‘k’ similar clusters of data points.

Data instances that fall outside of these groups could potentially be marked as anomalies.

Before we start k-means clustering, we use elbow method to determine the optimal number of clusters.


pyFigure 6From the above elbow curve, we see that the graph levels off after 10 clusters, implying that addition of more clusters do not explain much more of the variance in our relevant variable; in this case price_usd.

we set n_clusters=10, and upon generating the k-means output use the data to plot the 3D clusters.


pyFigure 7Now we need to find out the number of components (features) to keep.


pyFigure 8We see that the first component explains almost 50% of the variance.

The second component explains over 30%.

However, we’ve got to notice that almost none of the components are really negligible.

The first 2 components contain over 80% of the information.

So, we will set n_components=2.

The underline assumption in the clustering based anomaly detection is that if we cluster the data, normal data will belong to clusters while anomalies will not belong to any clusters or belong to small clusters.

We use the following steps to find and visualize anomalies.

Calculate the distance between each point and its nearest centroid.

The biggest distances are considered as anomaly.

We use outliers_fraction to provide information to the algorithm about the proportion of the outliers present in our data set.

Situations may vary from data set to data set.

However, as a starting figure, I estimate outliers_fraction=0.

01, since it is the percentage of observations that should fall over the absolute value 3 in the Z score distance from the mean in a standardized normal distribution.

Calculate number_of_outliers using outliers_fraction.

Set threshold as the minimum distance of these outliers.

contain the anomaly result of anomaly1 contains the above method Cluster (0:normal, 1:anomaly).

Visualize anomalies with cluster view.

Visualize anomalies with Time Series view.


pyFigure 9viz_time_series_view.

pyFigure 10It seems that the anomalies detected by k-means clustering were either some of very high rates or some of very low rates.

Isolation Forests For Anomaly DetectionIsolation Forest detects anomalies purely based on the fact that anomalies are data points that are few and different.

The anomalies isolation is implemented without employing any distance or density measure.

This method is fundamentally different from clustering based or distance based algorithms.

When applying an IsolationForest model, we set contamination = outliers_fraction, that is telling the model that the proportion of outliers in the data set is 0.


fit and predict(data) performs outlier detection on data, and returns 1 for normal, -1 for anomaly.

Finally, we visualize anomalies with Time Series view.


pyFigure 11Support Vector Machine-Based Anomaly DetectionA SVM is typically associated with supervised learning, but OneClassSVM can be used to identify anomalies as an unsupervised problems that learns a decision function for anomaly detection: classifying new data as similar or different to the training set.

OneClassSVMAccording to the paper: Support Vector Method for Novelty Detection.

SVMs are max-margin methods, i.


they do not model a probability distribution.

The idea of SVM for anomaly detection is to find a function that is positive for regions with high density of points, and negative for small densities.

When fitting OneClassSVM model, we set nu=outliers_fraction, which is an upper bound on the fraction of training errors and a lower bound of the fraction of support vectors, and must be between 0 and 1.

Basically this means the proportion of outliers we expect in our data.

Specifies the kernel type to be used in the algorithm: rbf.

This will enable SVM to use a non-linear function to project the hyperspace to higher dimension.

gamma is a parameter of the RBF kernel type and controls the influence of individual training samples – this effects the "smoothness" of the model.

Through experimentation, I did not find any significant difference.

predict(data) perform classification on data, and because our model is an one-class model, +1 or -1 is returned, and -1 is anomaly, 1 is normal.


pyFigure 12Anomaly Detection using Gaussian DistributionGaussian distribution is also called normal distribution.

We will be using the Gaussian distribution to develop an anomaly detection algorithm, that is, we’ll assume that our data are normally distributed.

This’s an assumption that cannot hold true for all data sets, yet when it does, it proves an effective method for spotting outliers.

Scikit-Learn’s covariance.

EllipticEnvelope is a function that tries to figure out the key parameters of our data’s general distribution by assuming that our entire data is an expression of an underlying multivariate Gaussian distribution.

The process like so:Create two different data sets based on categories defined earlier, — search_Sat_night, Search_Non_Sat_night.

Apply EllipticEnvelope(gaussian distribution) at each categories.

We set contamination parameter which is the proportion of the outliers present in our data set.

We use decision_function to compute the decision function of the given observations.

It is equal to the shifted Mahalanobis distances.

The threshold for being an outlier is 0, which ensures a compatibility with other outlier detection algorithms.

The predict(X_train) predict the labels (1 normal, -1 anomaly) of X_train according to the fitted model.


pyFigure 13It is interesting to see that anomalies detected in this way have only observed abnormal high prices but not abnormal low prices.

So far, we have done price anomaly detection with four different methods.

Because our anomaly detection is unsupervised learning.

After building the models, we have no idea how well it is doing as we have nothing to test it against.

Hence, the results of those methods need to be tested in the field before placing them in the critical path.

Jupyter notebook can be found on Github.

Enjoy the rest of the week!References:Introduction to Anomaly DetectionExperience with the specific topic: Novice Professional experience: No industry experience This overview is intended…www.




IsolationForest – scikit-learn 0.


2 documentationBehaviour of the decision_function which can be either 'old' or 'new'.

Passing behaviour='new' makes the…scikit-learn.



OneClassSVM – scikit-learn 0.


2 documentationSpecifies the kernel type to be used in the algorithm.

It must be one of 'linear', 'poly', 'rbf', 'sigmoid'…scikit-learn.



EllipticEnvelope – scikit-learn 0.


2 documentationIf True, the support of robust location and covariance estimates is computed, and a covariance estimate is recomputed…scikit-learn.

orgUnsupervised Anomaly Detection | KaggleEdit descriptionwww.



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