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AirPhyNet: Harnessing Physics-Guided Neural Networks for Air Quality Prediction

Kethmi Hirushini Hettige · Jiahao Ji · Shili Xiang · Cheng Long · Gao Cong · Jingyuan Wang

Halle B #143
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Thu 9 May 1:45 a.m. PDT — 3:45 a.m. PDT


Air quality prediction and modelling plays a pivotal role in public health and environment management, for individuals and authorities to make informed decisions. Although traditional data-driven models have shown promise in this domain, their long-term prediction accuracy can be limited, especially in scenarios with sparse or incomplete data and they often rely on black-box deep learning structures that lack solid physical foundation leading to reduced transparency and interpretability in predictions. To address these limitations, this paper presents a novel approach named Physics guided Neural Network for Air Quality Prediction (AirPhyNet). Specifically, we leverage two well-established physics principles of air particle movement (diffusion and advection) by representing them as differential equation networks. Then, we utilize a graph structure to integrate physics knowledge into a neural network architecture and exploit latent representations to capture spatio-temporal relationships within the air quality data. Experiments on two real-world benchmark datasets demonstrate that AirPhyNet outperforms state-of-the-art models for different testing scenarios including different lead time (24h, 48h, 72h), sparse data and sudden change prediction, achieving reduction in prediction errors up to 10\%. Moreover, a case study further validates that our model captures underlying physical processes of particle movement and generates accurate predictions with real physical meaning. The code is available at:

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