Football (Soccer) Prediction: Development Framework (#001)

As the new football (soccer in the USA) season approaches I am trying to get a football prediction system up and running. I think I will struggle to get it ready for the start of the new season (which starts Aug 7th) but that is not so important as this is mostly a research project. In any case, the system I have in mind will take a few weeks before it is usable as I need to get some results posted for the prediction system to work on.

I did a quick check on how much time I have spent so far on the programming. As a rough estimate, I think it is about 100 hours, mostly (if not all) at weekends. I still have a lot to do but I almost have the “football framework” that I need. That is, I can read in the data that I have been collecting, generate a league table for a given date in the season and collate various other statistics that I will eventually need. I also have various data structures that I will “pass around” the prediction part of the system.

I reckon that I need about another 20 hours and then I’ll have the framework completed. Then I can start to work on the prediction parts of the system.

One thing that I need to implement is an Artificial Neural Network (ANN). I have one from another project I worked on (stock market forecasting) but I want to re-engineer it. At the moment the ANN is only a feed forward network as it was used in an evolutionary setting. That is, the predictions were evolved rather than a more traditional training mechanism.
One thing lacking in my ANN class (I program in C++) is a back propagation training (BP) mechanism So, apart from tidying up the code, I also want to implement a back propagation method, as this seems one potential way to carry out the prediction.

So I have my work cut out over the coming weeks, but I hope that it will be interesting and, you never know, it might just work.