Non-parametric machine learning algorithms try to make assumptions about the data given the patterns observed from similar instances. For example, a popular non-parametric machine learning algorithm is the K-Nearest Neighbor algorithm that looks at similar training patterns for new instances. The only assumption it makes about the data set is that the training patterns that are the most similar are most likely to have a similar result. While non-parametric machine learning algorithms are often slower and require large amounts of data, they are rather flexible as they minimize the assumptions they make about the data.
We introduce a novel formulation of multi-task learning (MTL) called parametric task learning (PTL) that can systematically handle infinitely many tasks parameterized by a continuous parameter. Our key finding is that, for a certain class of PTL problems, the path of optimal task-wise solutions can be represented as piecewise-linear functions of the continuous task parameter. Based on this fact, we employ a parametric programming technique to obtain the common shared representation across all the continuously parameterized tasks efficiently. We show that our PTL formulation is useful in various scenarios such as learning under non-stationarity, cost-sensitive learning, and quantile regression, and demonstrate the usefulness of the proposed method experimentally in these scenarios. Papers published at the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference.
We examine the question of when and how parametric models are most useful in reinforcement learning. In particular, we look at commonalities and differences between parametric models and experience replay. Replay-based learning algorithms share important traits with model-based approaches, including the ability to plan: to use more computation without additional data to improve predictions and behaviour. We discuss when to expect benefits from either approach, and interpret prior work in this context. We hypothesise that, under suitable conditions, replay-based algorithms should be competitive to or better than model-based algorithms if the model is used only to generate fictional transitions from observed states for an update rule that is otherwise model-free.
The Fisher information matrix (FIM) is a foundational concept in statistical signal processing. The FIM depends on the probability distribution, assumed to belong to a smooth parametric family. Traditional approaches to estimating the FIM require estimating the probability distribution function (PDF), or its parameters, along with its gradient or Hessian. However, in many practical situations the PDF of the data is not known but the statistician has access to an observation sample for any parameter value. Here we propose a method of estimating the FIM directly from sampled data that does not require knowledge of the underlying PDF. The method is based on non-parametric estimation of an $f$-divergence over a local neighborhood of the parameter space and a relation between curvature of the $f$-divergence and the FIM. Thus we obtain an empirical estimator of the FIM that does not require density estimation and is asymptotically consistent. We empirically evaluate the validity of our approach using two experiments.
This learning problem arises frequently in many application areas ranging from signal processing, computer vision, over robotics to computer graphics. We present a new algorithmic scheme for the solution of this general learning problem based on regularized empirical risk minimization. The regularization functional takes into account the geometry of input and output manifold, and we show that it implements a prior which is particularly natural. Moreover, we demonstrate that our algorithm performs well in a difficult surface registration problem. Papers published at the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference.