Smoothing Time Series


Smoothing is a transformation that reduces the noise in an underlying time series. Unlike period aggregation which returns series with new timestamps set to period start times, the smoothing transformation retains the original timestamps.

For each timestamp in the underlying series, the smoothed value is calculated in two steps:

  • A sequence of preceding samples up to the current timestamp is retrieved from the underlying series. This sequence ends with the current sample and is called a rolling (or sliding) window.
  • A new value at the current timestamp is calculated by applying a smoothing function, such as average, to the retrieved sequence.

Supported smoothing functions:

  • AVG: Average
  • COUNT: Count
  • SUM: Sum
  • WAVG: Weighted Average
  • WTAVG: Weighted-time Average
  • EMA: Exponential Moving Average

The size of the rolling window is based on either time duration or the number of samples. Window size is controlled by the interval and count settings.

The example below calculates the simple moving average with a 15 minute rolling window.

"smooth": {
  "type": "AVG",
  "interval": {"count": 15, "unit": "MINUTE"}

The implemented smoothing functions differ in how they assign weight to samples in the sliding window. Simple average AVG assigns equal weight to all samples. Weighted average functions take the sample index or time distance between samples into account and assign greater weight to more recent samples.


Name Type Description
type string [Required] Smoothing function.
Available functions: AVG, COUNT, SUM, WAVG, WTAVG, EMA.
count number Number of samples in a count-based rolling window.
interval object Duration of a time-based window specified with count and time unit.
For example: {"count": 3, "unit": "HOUR"}.
minimumCount number Minimum number of samples in a window required to apply the smoothing function.
Default value is 1.
If a window is incomplete (count is below minimum), the smoothing function returns incompleteValue for the current timestamp.
incompleteValue string Number returned in an incomplete window for the current timestamp if the sample count is below minimumCount.
Possible values: null (default), NaN, or a constant numeric value.
null values are omitted from the response.

Parameters count and interval are ignored by the EMA function which weighs all loaded samples.

The longer the time window, the more smoothing is performed on the returned series.

Smoothing Process

Received series samples are processed sequentially in ascending time order. The ordered sequence is called the rolling window or a sliding window. Initially the window is empty.

For each series sample the following steps are executed sequentially:

  1. If the sample value is NaN, include the sample in the response unchanged. Skip remaining steps.
  2. Append the sample to the end of the window.
  3. Remove outdated samples:
    • For time-based windows: Remove any samples with timestamp equal to or earlier than the current timestamp minus the interval.
    • For count-based windows: Remove the first (oldest) sample if window length exceeds count.
  4. If the number of samples is below minimumCount, return the value specified in the incompleteValue parameter.
  5. Return the value calculated by the smoothing function.

The timestamp of the returned samples is the same as the timestamp of the input sample.

Smoothing Functions


type = AVG

Calculates average value within rolling window. Sum of values divided by number of values.

Window values:

window values

Calculation formula:

AVG formula


type = COUNT

Calculates the count of values in the rolling window.


type = SUM

Calculates the sum of values in the rolling window.

Weighted Average

type = WAVG

Calculates weighted average where the weight of the value equals the sample index.

Window values:

window values

Calculation formula:

WAVG formula

Weighted Time Average

type = WTAVG.

Calculates weighted average where the weight of the sample value is equal to the distance between the first timestamp and the current sample timestamp.

Window samples, with timestamps measured in milliseconds:

window samples

Calculation formula:

WTAVG formula

The function returns sample value (v one) if n equals 1.

Exponential Moving Average

type = EMA

Calculates exponentially smoothed weighted average. The function uses a window which consists of all samples preceding the current timestamp, therefore it does not require count and interval parameters. The contribution of a sample to the calculated smoothed value decreases exponentially for more distant samples.

EMA Specific Fields

Name Type Description
factor number Smoothing factor. A number within the (0, 1) range.
A smaller smoothing factor decreases variance.
Default value: 0.25
range number Controls steepness of the smoothing function.
Typically used to smooth irregular series.
A larger range decreases variance.

Input series samples:

series samples

The smoothed series contains samples with the same timestamps:

smoothed series

  • Calculations using factor

    EMA first value

    EMA recurrent formula

    where alpha is the value of smoothing factor.

  • Calculations using range

    The calculation applies the same formulas (1) and (2), using a factor calculated based on series timestamps and the specified range:

    EMA smoothing factor

    where range is the value of range.

    For regular series, range can be calculated from factor:

    range through factor

    where delta is the time interval between consecutive samples, measured in milliseconds.

    If the interval between samples is 1000 milliseconds, and smoothing factor is 0.5, the range is 1443.


  • A. Eckner, Algorithms for Unevenly Spaced Time Series: Moving Averages and Other Rolling Operators, Section 4.1, EMA_next.
  • U. Muller, Specially Weighted Moving Averages with Repeated Application of the EMA Operator, Formulas 2.7-2.14.