Mutual Transfer Learning for Massive Data

Part of Proceedings of the International Conference on Machine Learning 1 pre-proceedings (ICML 2020)

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Ching-Wei Cheng, Xingye Qiao, Guang Cheng


In the transfer learning problem, the target and the source data domains are typically known. In this article, we study a new paradigm called mutual transfer learning where among many heterogeneous data domains, every data domain could potentially be the target of interest, and it could also be a useful source to help the learning in other data domains. However, it is important to note that given a target not every data domain can be a successful source; only data sets that are similar enough to be thought as from the same population can be useful sources for each other. Under this mutual learnability assumption, a confidence distribution fusion approach is proposed to recover the mutual learnability relation in the transfer learning regime. Our proposed method achieves the same oracle statistical inferential accuracy as if the true learnability structure were known. It can be implemented in an efficient parallel fashion to deal with large-scale data. Simulated and real examples are analyzed to illustrate the usefulness of the proposed method.