Accelerating Time Series Forecasting with Amazon SageMaker Canvas and AutoML APIs

Accelerating Time Series Forecasting with Amazon SageMaker Canvas and AutoML APIs

Amazon SageMaker Canvas has introduced significant enhancements in its time-series forecasting capabilities, offering a faster and more intuitive way to create machine learning models. This advancement, detailed in a post by Nirmal Kumar and team on the AWS Machine Learning Blog, positions SageMaker Canvas as a pivotal tool for various business applications, from inventory management in retail to revenue prediction in finance.

Key Enhancements in SageMaker Canvas

1. Improved Forecasting Capabilities

  • SageMaker Canvas now employs AutoML for time-series forecasting, resulting in a 50% increase in model-building performance and a 45% faster prediction rate.
  • The average model training duration is reduced from 186 to 73 minutes, and the prediction time for a typical batch of 750 time series is cut from 33 to 18 minutes.

2. Integration with AutoML APIs

  • Developers can access model construction and prediction functions programmatically through Amazon SageMaker Autopilot APIs.
  • These APIs provide additional benefits like model explainability, performance reports, and the ability to deploy trained models for predictions.

3. Handling Incremental Data

  • SageMaker Canvas now allows for the addition of recent data to existing models for generating forecasts without retraining the entire model, significantly speeding up the forecasting process.

Business Applications and Use Cases

SageMaker Canvas’s enhanced forecasting capabilities can be leveraged across various industries for critical decision-making processes. Key applications include:

  • Retail: Optimizing inventory levels based on predicted sales demand.
  • Manufacturing: Improving demand planning.
  • Travel and Hospitality: Planning for workforce and guest needs.
  • Finance: Accurate revenue predictions.

User Experience: SageMaker Canvas UI and APIs

Using the SageMaker Canvas UI

  • Users can import data from multiple sources, including Amazon S3, Athena, and Snowflake.
  • The UI allows for data exploration and visualization, model training, and making predictions without writing any code.
  • An example workflow includes visualizing product demand and generating weekly forecasts for specific products in different store locations.

Leveraging APIs for Automated Forecasting

  • The APIs facilitate training models and generating predictions for scenarios like predicting product stock levels at various store locations.
  • The process involves dataset preparation, creating a SageMaker Autopilot job, evaluating model accuracy, and generating predictions either in real-time or using batch processing.


Amazon SageMaker Canvas’s latest updates democratize the process of time-series forecasting, empowering users with varied expertise levels to create accurate ML models swiftly. Its enhanced performance, coupled with the flexibility offered by the AutoML APIs, ensures that businesses can adapt quickly to changing demands and make data-driven decisions effectively.

Whether using the intuitive UI or the versatile APIs, SageMaker Canvas’s improvements in model building and prediction speed mark a significant step forward in making AI/ML technology accessible and efficient for a wide range of business applications.