Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) are now widely used in many areas of science, medicine, finance and engineering. Analysis and prediction of time series of hydrological/and meteorological data is one such application. Problems that still exist in the application of ANN's are the lack of transparency and the expertise needed for training. An evolutionary algorithm-based method to train a type of neural networks called Product Units Based Neural Networks (PUNN) has been proposed in a 2006 study. This study investigates the applicability of this type of neural networks to hydrological time series prediction. The technique, with a few small changes to improve the performance, is applied to some benchmark time series as well as to a real hydrological time series for prediction. The results show that evolutionary PUNN produce more transparent models compared to widely used multilayer perceptron (MLP) neural network models. It is also seen that training of PUNN models requires less expertise compared to MLPs.
Keywords: evolutionary algorithms, neural networks, prediction, time series