Transfer Learning is the reuse of a pre-trained model on a new problem. (Towards Data Science)
Comments (mostly on related work): Authors: "The idea of using learning to learn or meta-learning to acquire knowledge or inductive biases has a long history [Thrun and Pratt, 1998]." But the intro to this reference is muddling the waters by confusing meta-learning (which is about learning the learning algorithm itself) and transfer learning, subsuming basically everything under "meta-learning," even standard back-propagation, because it can be applied to some data set, and then may learn new data points more quickly (so this is just standard transfer learning). To my knowledge, the first work on learning general learning algorithms written in a universal programming language was published in 1987: J. Schmidhuber. Evolutionary principles in self-referential learning, or on learning how to learn: The meta-meta-... hook. Authors: "This work was built on by [Younger et al., 2001, Hochreiter et al., 2001] wherein a higher-level network act as a gradient descent procedure, with both levels trained during learning. Alternatively Schmidhuber [1992, 1993] considers networks that are able to modify their own behavior and act as an alternative to recurrent networks in meta-learning. Note, however that these earlier works do not directly address the transfer of a learned training procedure to novel problem instances and instead focus on adaptivity in the online setting."
This paper addresses the challenge of jointly learning both the per-task model parameters and the inter-task relationships in a multi-task online learning setting. The proposed algorithm features probabilistic interpretation, efficient updating rules and flexible modulation on whether learners focus on their specific task or on jointly address all tasks. The paper also proves a sub-linear regret bound as compared to the best linear predictor in hindsight. Experiments over three multitask learning benchmark datasets show advantageous performance of the proposed approach over several state-of-the-art online multi-task learning baselines.
Key to multitask learning is exploiting the relationships between different tasks in order to improve prediction performance. Most previous methods have focused on the case where tasks relations can be modeled as linear operators and regularization approaches can be used successfully. However, in practice assuming the tasks to be linearly related is often restrictive, and allowing for nonlinear structures is a challenge. In this paper, we tackle this issue by casting the problem within the framework of structured prediction. Our main contribution is a novel algorithm for learning multiple tasks which are related by a system of nonlinear equations that their joint outputs need to satisfy. We show that our algorithm can be efficiently implemented and study its generalization properties, proving universal consistency and learning rates. Our theoretical analysis highlights the benefits of non-linear multitask learning over learning the tasks independently. Encouraging experimental results show the benefits of the proposed method in practice.
We describe an approach to learning from long-tailed, imbalanced datasets that are prevalent in real-world settings. Here, the challenge is to learn accurate "fewshot" models for classes in the tail of the class distribution, for which little data is available. We cast this problem as transfer learning, where knowledge from the data-rich classes in the head of the distribution is transferred to the data-poor classes in the tail. Our key insights are as follows. First, we propose to transfer meta-knowledge about learning-to-learn from the head classes.
The focus in machine learning has branched beyond training classifiers on a single task to investigating how previously acquired knowledge in a source domain can be leveraged to facilitate learning in a related target domain, known as inductive transfer learning. Three active lines of research have independently explored transfer learning using neural networks. In weight transfer, a model trained on the source domain is used as an initialization point for a network to be trained on the target domain. In deep metric learning, the source domain is used to construct an embedding that captures class structure in both the source and target domains. In few-shot learning, the focus is on generalizing well in the target domain based on a limited number of labeled examples. We compare state-of-the-art methods from these three paradigms and also explore hybrid adapted-embedding methods that use limited target-domain data to fine tune embeddings constructed from sourcedomain data. We conduct a systematic comparison of methods in a variety of domains, varying the number of labeled instances available in the target domain (k), as well as the number of target-domain classes. We reach three principal conclusions: (1) Deep embeddings are far superior, compared to weight transfer, as a starting point for inter-domain transfer or model re-use (2) Our hybrid methods robustly outperform every few-shot learning and every deep metric learning method previously proposed, with a mean error reduction of 34% over state-of-the-art.
We describe a neural network-based system for text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis that is able to generate speech audio in the voice of different speakers, including those unseen during training. Our system consists of three independently trained components: (1) a speaker encoder network, trained on a speaker verification task using an independent dataset of noisy speech without transcripts from thousands of speakers, to generate a fixed-dimensional embedding vector from only seconds of reference speech from a target speaker; (2) a sequence-to-sequence synthesis network based on Tacotron 2 that generates a mel spectrogram from text, conditioned on the speaker embedding; (3) an auto-regressive WaveNet-based vocoder network that converts the mel spectrogram into time domain waveform samples. We demonstrate that the proposed model is able to transfer the knowledge of speaker variability learned by the discriminatively-trained speaker encoder to the multispeaker TTS task, and is able to synthesize natural speech from speakers unseen during training. We quantify the importance of training the speaker encoder on a large and diverse speaker set in order to obtain the best generalization performance. Finally, we show that randomly sampled speaker embeddings can be used to synthesize speech in the voice of novel speakers dissimilar from those used in training, indicating that the model has learned a high quality speaker representation.
Precision medicine aims for personalized prognosis and therapeutics by utilizing recent genome-scale high-throughput profiling techniques, including next-generation sequencing (NGS). However, translating NGS data faces several challenges. First, NGS count data are often overdispersed, requiring appropriate modeling. Second, compared to the number of involved molecules and system complexity, the number of available samples for studying complex disease, such as cancer, is often limited, especially considering disease heterogeneity. The key question is whether we may integrate available data from all different sources or domains to achieve reproducible disease prognosis based on NGS count data. In this paper, we develop a Bayesian Multi-Domain Learning (BMDL) model that derives domain-dependent latent representations of overdispersed count data based on hierarchical negative binomial factorization for accurate cancer subtyping even if the number of samples for a specific cancer type is small. Experimental results from both our simulated and NGS datasets from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) demonstrate the promising potential of BMDL for effective multi-domain learning without "negative transfer" effects often seen in existing multi-task learning and transfer learning methods.
Before sufficient training data is available, fine-tuning neural networks pre-trained on large-scale datasets substantially outperforms training from random initialization. However, fine-tuning methods suffer from a dilemma across catastrophic forgetting and negative transfer. While several methods with explicit attempts to overcome catastrophic forgetting have been proposed, negative transfer is rarely delved into. In this paper, we launch an in-depth empirical investigation into negative transfer in fine-tuning and find that, for the weight parameters and feature representations, transferability of their spectral components is diverse. For safe transfer learning, we present Batch Spectral Shrinkage (BSS), a novel regularization approach to penalizing smaller singular values so that untransferable spectral components are suppressed. BSS is orthogonal to existing fine-tuning methods and is readily pluggable into them. Experimental results show that BSS can significantly enhance the performance of state-of-the-art methods, especially in few training data regime.