The competition started on January 1, 2018 when the 100,000 time series were made available on the M4 website.
The participants were asked to submit their point forecasts no later than May 31, 2018 before midnight. The same standed for the prediction intervals, whose submission was optional, but were considered for the prize of the most accurate intervals.
The M4 Competition attracted a great number of participants from business schools and finance, computer science, and engineering departments of universities, financial analysts, departments of banks and financial institutions as well as individuals. The attraction to participate, beyond winning a prize, was the experience in competing in an international challenge and the publicity gained from one’s accurate forecasts.
Submissions took place on the M4 website, using an appropriate form. Teams were also welcomed as long as none of its members participated as individuals. In that case, the team leader had to create a profile and then add the members of his/her team.
The winners of M4 were determined by evaluating the average accuracy of the point forecasts provided by weighting two accuracy metrics, as presented in the M4 – Competitors Guide. The Guide also describes the metrics used for evaluating the performance of the prediction intervals submitted by the participants.
An illustrative example (R code) for evaluating the point forecasts of the M4 Competition benchmarks can be found here.