Beyond Shared Hierarchies: Deep Multitask Learning through Soft Layer Ordering

Elliot Meyerson, Risto Miikkulainen

Feb 15, 2018 (modified: Feb 15, 2018) ICLR 2018 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Existing deep multitask learning (MTL) approaches align layers shared between tasks in a parallel ordering. Such an organization significantly constricts the types of shared structure that can be learned. The necessity of parallel ordering for deep MTL is first tested by comparing it with permuted ordering of shared layers. The results indicate that a flexible ordering can enable more effective sharing, thus motivating the development of a soft ordering approach, which learns how shared layers are applied in different ways for different tasks. Deep MTL with soft ordering outperforms parallel ordering methods across a series of domains. These results suggest that the power of deep MTL comes from learning highly general building blocks that can be assembled to meet the demands of each task.
  • TL;DR: Relaxing the constraint of shared hierarchies enables more effective deep multitask learning.
  • Keywords: multitask learning, deep learning, modularity

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