The M competitions have been instrumental in advancing the theory and practice of forecasting, with the last one, the M5 ending in June 30 of this year. It included two separate challenges the Accuracy and the Uncertainty tracks to distinguish and emphasize their distinct significance for the forecasting field. The accuracy challenge was the most popular of the two, with 7,092 participants, in 5,507 teams, from 101 countries, submitting close to 90,000 forecasting entries to Kaggle that hosted the competition. A draft paper describing the accuracy competition, the data used, the winning teams and their performance as well and its major findings can be found here. The data, benchmarks, and submissions made to the M5 forecasting competition can be found here.

Similar to the M4 competition there will be a special issue of the International Journal of Forecasting (IJF) exclusively devoted to all aspects of the M5. The special issue will include invited methodological papers, based on the top-performing submissions and contributed discussion papers. The purpose of the call is to attract high quality discussion papers. Such discussion papers could focus on the following (indicative) areas, possibly by exploiting the available data and presenting additional analysis where applicable.

• Applicability and implications of results – Views of practitioners and academics.
• Recent advances in Machine Learning and “cross-learning” forecasting methods used in retail forecasting applications.
• Insights on the factors and modeling strategies that determined the performance of the winning submissions.
• Insights on the importance of the exogenous and explanatory variables.
• Insights on the importance of cross-validation and other approaches used for mitigating overfitting.
• Insights on the importance of data pre-processing and forecast adjustments.
• Hierarchical forecasting, coherence, and applicability on large-scale retail applications.

We invite you to submit your interest to contribute a discussion paper for the M5 special issue (Accuracy Track) by sending us a proposal (500 words maximum) by November 15, 2020 to Fotios Petropoulos. We will then evaluate all proposals, and notify the authors by November 30, 2020. The selected papers are to be submitted to the journal’s submission management system by February 28, 2021. The maximum length for each full paper should not exceed 5000 words. All submitted papers will follow IJF’s rigorous double-blind refereeing process.

Please note that a second announcement (and call for proposals) will be released for the Uncertainty track of the M5 competition in due time.

For further information about the Special Issue, please contact the guest editors:

• Dr. Fotios Petropoulos, University of Bath, UK, [email protected]
• Professor Spyros Makridakis, University of Nicosia, Cyprus, [email protected]
• Dr. Evangelos Spiliotis, National Technical University of Athens, Greece, [email protected]

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