- Abstract: The incorporation of prior knowledge into learning is essential in achieving good performance based on small noisy samples. Such knowledge is often incorporated through the availability of related data arising from domains and tasks similar to the one of current interest. Ideally one would like to allow both the data for the current task and for previous related tasks to self-organize the learning system in such a way that commonalities and differences between the tasks are learned in a data-driven fashion. We develop a framework for learning multiple tasks simultaneously, based on sharing features that are common to all tasks, achieved through the use of a modular deep feedforward neural network consisting of shared branches, dealing with the common features of all tasks, and private branches, learning the specific unique aspects of each task. Once an appropriate weight sharing architecture has been established, learning takes place through standard algorithms for feedforward networks, e.g., stochastic gradient descent and its variations. The method deals with meta-learning (such as domain adaptation, transfer and multi-task learning) in a unified fashion, and can easily deal with data arising from different types of sources. Numerical experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of learning in domain adaptation and transfer learning setups, and provide evidence for the flexible and task-oriented representations arising in the network.
- TL;DR: A generic framework for handling transfer and multi-task learning using pairs of autoencoders with task-specific and shared weights.
- Keywords: transfer learning, domain adaptation, unsupervised learning, autoencoders, multi-task learning