Retaining Privileged Information for Multi-Task Learning



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Knowledge transfer has been of great interest in current machine learning research, as many have speculated its importance in modeling the human ability to rapidly generalize learned models to new scenarios. Particularly in cases where training samples are limited, knowledge transfer shows improvement on both the learning speed and generalization performance of related tasks. Recently, Learning Using Privileged Information (LUPI) has presented a new direction in knowledge transfer by modeling the transfer of prior knowledge as a Teacher-Student interaction process. Under LUPI, a Teacher model uses Privileged Information (PI) that is only available at training time to improve the sample complexity required to train a Student learner for a given task. In this work, we present a LUPI formulation that allows privileged information to be retained in a multi-task learning setting. We propose a novel feature matching algorithm that projects samples from the original feature space and the privilege information space into a joint latent space in a way that informs similarity between training samples. Our experiments show that useful knowledge from PI is maintained in the latent space and greatly improves the sample efficiency of other related learning tasks. We also provide an analysis of sample complexity of the proposed LUPI method, which under some favorable assumptions can achieve a greater sample efficiency than brute force methods.

Please cite our work using the BibTeX below.

author = {Tang, Fengyi and Xiao, Cao and Wang, Fei and Zhou, Jiayu and Lehman, Li-wei H.},
title = {Retaining Privileged Information for Multi-Task Learning},
year = {2019},
isbn = {9781450362016},
publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery},
address = {New York, NY, USA},
url = {},
doi = {10.1145/3292500.3330907},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 25th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery & Data Mining},
pages = {1369–1377},
numpages = {9},
keywords = {multi-task learning, privileged information, electronic health records},
location = {Anchorage, AK, USA},
series = {KDD '19}
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