Nghia Hoang, Thanh Lam, Bryan Kian Hsiang Low, Patrick Jaillet
Model fusion is an emerging study in collective learning where heterogeneous experts with private data and learning architectures need to combine their black-box knowledge for better performance. Existing literature achieves this via a local knowledge distillation scheme that transfuses the predictive patterns of each pre-trained expert onto a white-box imitator model, which can be incorporated efficiently into a global model. This scheme however does not extend to multi-task scenarios where different experts were trained to solve different tasks and only part of their distilled knowledge is relevant to a new task. To address this multi-task challenge, we develop a new fusion paradigm that represents each expert as a distribution over a spectrum of predictive prototypes, which are isolated from task-specific information encoded within the prototype distribution. The task-agnostic prototypes can then be reintegrated to generate a new model that solves a new task encoded with a different prototype distribution. The fusion and adaptation performance of the proposed framework is demonstrated empirically on several real-world benchmark datasets.