Relevance vector machines approach for long-term flow prediction
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Over the past years, some artificial intelligence techniques like artificial neural networks have been widely used in the hydrological modeling studies. In spite of their some advantages, these techniques have some drawbacks including possibility of getting trapped in local minima, overtraining and subjectivity in the determining of model parameters. In the last few years, a new alternative kernel-based technique called a support vector machines (SVM) has been found to be popular in modeling studies due to its advantages over popular artificial intelligence techniques. In addition, the relevance vector machines (RVM) approach has been proposed to recast the main ideas behind SVM in a Bayesian context. The main purpose of this study is to examine the applicability and capability of the RVM on long-term flow prediction and to compare its performance with feed forward neural networks, SVM, and multiple linear regression models. Meteorological data (rainfall and temperature) and lagged data of rainfall were used in modeling application. Some mostly used statistical performance evaluation measures were considered to evaluate models. According to evaluations, RVM method provided an improvement in model performance as compared to other employed methods. In addition, it is an alternative way to popular soft computing methods for long-term flow prediction providing at least comparable efficiency.