Collaborating Authors


Learning Stable Classifiers by Transferring Unstable Features Machine Learning

We study transfer learning in the presence of spurious correlations. We experimentally demonstrate that directly transferring the stable feature extractor learned on the source task may not eliminate these biases for the target task. However, we hypothesize that the unstable features in the source task and those in the target task are directly related. By explicitly informing the target classifier of the source task's unstable features, we can regularize the biases in the target task. Specifically, we derive a representation that encodes the unstable features by contrasting different data environments in the source task. On the target task, we cluster data from this representation, and achieve robustness by minimizing the worst-case risk across all clusters. We evaluate our method on both text and image classifications. Empirical results demonstrate that our algorithm is able to maintain robustness on the target task, outperforming the best baseline by 22.9% in absolute accuracy across 12 transfer settings. Our code is available at

Materials Representation and Transfer Learning for Multi-Property Prediction Artificial Intelligence

The adoption of machine learning in materials science has rapidly transformed materials property prediction. Hurdles limiting full capitalization of recent advancements in machine learning include the limited development of methods to learn the underlying interactions of multiple elements, as well as the relationships among multiple properties, to facilitate property prediction in new composition spaces. To address these issues, we introduce the Hierarchical Correlation Learning for Multi-property Prediction (H-CLMP) framework that seamlessly integrates (i) prediction using only a material's composition, (ii) learning and exploitation of correlations among target properties in multi-target regression, and (iii) leveraging training data from tangential domains via generative transfer learning. The model is demonstrated for prediction of spectral optical absorption of complex metal oxides spanning 69 3-cation metal oxide composition spaces. H-CLMP accurately predicts non-linear composition-property relationships in composition spaces for which no training data is available, which broadens the purview of machine learning to the discovery of materials with exceptional properties. This achievement results from the principled integration of latent embedding learning, property correlation learning, generative transfer learning, and attention models. The best performance is obtained using H-CLMP with Transfer learning (H-CLMP(T)) wherein a generative adversarial network is trained on computational density of states data and deployed in the target domain to augment prediction of optical absorption from composition. H-CLMP(T) aggregates multiple knowledge sources with a framework that is well-suited for multi-target regression across the physical sciences.

DAMSL: Domain Agnostic Meta Score-based Learning Artificial Intelligence

In this paper, we propose Domain Agnostic Meta Score-based Learning (DAMSL), a novel, versatile and highly effective solution that delivers significant out-performance over state-of-the-art methods for cross-domain few-shot learning. We identify key problems in previous meta-learning methods over-fitting to the source domain, and previous transfer-learning methods under-utilizing the structure of the support set. The core idea behind our method is that instead of directly using the scores from a fine-tuned feature encoder, we use these scores to create input coordinates for a domain agnostic metric space. A graph neural network is applied to learn an embedding and relation function over these coordinates to process all information contained in the score distribution of the support set. We test our model on both established CD-FSL benchmarks and new domains and show that our method overcomes the limitations of previous meta-learning and transfer-learning methods to deliver substantial improvements in accuracy across both smaller and larger domain shifts.

Differentially Private Semi-Supervised Transfer Learning Artificial Intelligence

This paper considers the problem of differentially private semi-supervised transfer learning. The notion of membership-mapping is developed using measure theory basis to learn data representation via a fuzzy membership function. An alternative conception of deep autoencoder, referred to as Conditionally Deep Membership-Mapping Autoencoder (CDMMA) (that consists of a nested compositions of membership-mappings), is considered. Under practice-oriented settings, an analytical solution for the learning of CDMFA can be derived by means of variational optimization. The paper proposes a transfer learning approach that combines CDMMA with a tailored noise adding mechanism to achieve a given level of privacy-loss bound with the minimum perturbation of the data. Numerous experiments were carried out using MNIST, USPS, Office, and Caltech256 datasets to verify the competitive robust performance of the proposed methodology.

"Train one, Classify one, Teach one" -- Cross-surgery transfer learning for surgical step recognition Artificial Intelligence

Prior work demonstrated the ability of machine learning to automatically recognize surgical workflow steps from videos. However, these studies focused on only a single type of procedure. In this work, we analyze, for the first time, surgical step recognition on four different laparoscopic surgeries: Cholecystectomy, Right Hemicolectomy, Sleeve Gastrectomy, and Appendectomy. Inspired by the traditional apprenticeship model, in which surgical training is based on the Halstedian method, we paraphrase the "see one, do one, teach one" approach for the surgical intelligence domain as "train one, classify one, teach one". In machine learning, this approach is often referred to as transfer learning. To analyze the impact of transfer learning across different laparoscopic procedures, we explore various time-series architectures and examine their performance on each target domain. We introduce a new architecture, the Time-Series Adaptation Network (TSAN), an architecture optimized for transfer learning of surgical step recognition, and we show how TSAN can be pre-trained using self-supervised learning on a Sequence Sorting task. Such pre-training enables TSAN to learn workflow steps of a new laparoscopic procedure type from only a small number of labeled samples from the target procedure. Our proposed architecture leads to better performance compared to other possible architectures, reaching over 90% accuracy when transferring from laparoscopic Cholecystectomy to the other three procedure types.

TrNews: Heterogeneous User-Interest Transfer Learning for News Recommendation Artificial Intelligence

We investigate how to solve the cross-corpus news recommendation for unseen users in the future. This is a problem where traditional content-based recommendation techniques often fail. Luckily, in real-world recommendation services, some publisher (e.g., Daily news) may have accumulated a large corpus with lots of consumers which can be used for a newly deployed publisher (e.g., Political news). To take advantage of the existing corpus, we propose a transfer learning model (dubbed as TrNews) for news recommendation to transfer the knowledge from a source corpus to a target corpus. To tackle the heterogeneity of different user interests and of different word distributions across corpora, we design a translator-based transfer-learning strategy to learn a representation mapping between source and target corpora. The learned translator can be used to generate representations for unseen users in the future. We show through experiments on real-world datasets that TrNews is better than various baselines in terms of four metrics. We also show that our translator is effective among existing transfer strategies.

Phase Transitions in Transfer Learning for High-Dimensional Perceptrons Machine Learning

Transfer learning seeks to improve the generalization performance of a target task by exploiting the knowledge learned from a related source task. Central questions include deciding what information one should transfer and when transfer can be beneficial. The latter question is related to the so-called negative transfer phenomenon, where the transferred source information actually reduces the generalization performance of the target task. This happens when the two tasks are sufficiently dissimilar. In this paper, we present a theoretical analysis of transfer learning by studying a pair of related perceptron learning tasks. Despite the simplicity of our model, it reproduces several key phenomena observed in practice. Specifically, our asymptotic analysis reveals a phase transition from negative transfer to positive transfer as the similarity of the two tasks moves past a well-defined threshold. Transfer learning [1]-[5] is a promising approach to improving the performance of machine learning tasks. It does so by exploiting the knowledge gained from a previously-learned model, referred to as the source task, to improve the generalization performance of a related learning problem, referred to as the target task.

SB-MTL: Score-based Meta Transfer-Learning for Cross-Domain Few-Shot Learning Artificial Intelligence

While many deep learning methods have seen significant success in tackling the problem of domain adaptation and few-shot learning separately, far fewer methods are able to jointly tackle both problems in Cross-Domain Few-Shot Learning (CD-FSL). This problem is exacerbated under sharp domain shifts that typify common computer vision applications. In this paper, we present a novel, flexible and effective method to address the CD-FSL problem. Our method, called Score-based Meta Transfer-Learning (SB-MTL), combines transfer-learning and meta-learning by using a MAML-optimized feature encoder and a score-based Graph Neural Network. First, we have a feature encoder with specific layers designed to be fine-tuned. To do so, we apply a first-order MAML algorithm to find good initializations. Second, instead of directly taking the classification scores after fine-tuning, we interpret the scores as coordinates by mapping the pre-softmax classification scores onto a metric space. Subsequently, we apply a Graph Neural Network to propagate label information from the support set to the query set in our score-based metric space. We test our model on the Broader Study of Cross-Domain Few-Shot Learning (BSCD-FSL) benchmark, which includes a range of target domains with highly varying dissimilarity to the miniImagenet source domain. We observe significant improvements in accuracy across 5, 20 and 50 shot, and on the four target domains. In terms of average accuracy, our model outperforms previous transfer-learning methods by 5.93% and previous meta-learning methods by 14.28%.

FaceLeaks: Inference Attacks against Transfer Learning Models via Black-box Queries Machine Learning

Transfer learning is a useful machine learning framework that allows one to build task-specific models (student models) without significantly incurring training costs using a single powerful model (teacher model) pre-trained with a large amount of data. The teacher model may contain private data, or interact with private inputs. We investigate if one can leak or infer such private information without interacting with the teacher model directly. We describe such inference attacks in the context of face recognition, an application of transfer learning that is highly sensitive to personal privacy. Under black-box and realistic settings, we show that existing inference techniques are ineffective, as interacting with individual training instances through the student models does not reveal information about the teacher. We then propose novel strategies to infer from aggregate-level information. Consequently, membership inference attacks on the teacher model are shown to be possible, even when the adversary has access only to the student models. We further demonstrate that sensitive attributes can be inferred, even in the case where the adversary has limited auxiliary information. Finally, defensive strategies are discussed and evaluated. Our extensive study indicates that information leakage is a real privacy threat to the transfer learning framework widely used in real-life situations.

On the Theory of Transfer Learning: The Importance of Task Diversity Machine Learning

We provide new statistical guarantees for transfer learning via representation learning--when transfer is achieved by learning a feature representation shared across different tasks. This enables learning on new tasks using far less data than is required to learn them in isolation. Formally, we consider $t+1$ tasks parameterized by functions of the form $f_j \circ h$ in a general function class $\mathcal{F} \circ \mathcal{H}$, where each $f_j$ is a task-specific function in $\mathcal{F}$ and $h$ is the shared representation in $\mathcal{H}$. Letting $C(\cdot)$ denote the complexity measure of the function class, we show that for diverse training tasks (1) the sample complexity needed to learn the shared representation across the first $t$ training tasks scales as $C(\mathcal{H}) + t C(\mathcal{F})$, despite no explicit access to a signal from the feature representation and (2) with an accurate estimate of the representation, the sample complexity needed to learn a new task scales only with $C(\mathcal{F})$. Our results depend upon a new general notion of task diversity--applicable to models with general tasks, features, and losses--as well as a novel chain rule for Gaussian complexities. Finally, we exhibit the utility of our general framework in several models of importance in the literature.