Multi-Task Learning with User Preferences: Gradient Descent with Controlled Ascent in Pareto Optimization

Debabrata Mahapatra · Vaibhav Rajan

Keywords: [ Large Scale Learning and Big Data ] [ Optimization ] [ Transfer and Multitask Learning ] [ Transfer, Multitask and Meta-learning ]

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Multi-Task Learning (MTL) is a well established paradigm for jointly learning models for multiple correlated tasks. Often the tasks conflict, requiring trade-offs between them during optimization. In such cases, multi-objective optimization based MTL methods can be used to find one or more Pareto optimal solutions. A common requirement in MTL applications, that cannot be addressed by these methods, is to find a solution satisfying userspecified preferences with respect to task-specific losses. We advance the state-of-the-art by developing the first gradient-based multi-objective MTL algorithm to solve this problem. Our unique approach combines multiple gradient descent with carefully controlled ascent to traverse the Pareto front in a principled manner, which also makes it robust to initialization. The scalability of our algorithm enables its use in large-scale deep networks for MTL. Assuming only differentiability of the task-specific loss functions, we provide theoretical guarantees for convergence. Our experiments show that our algorithm outperforms the best competing methods on benchmark datasets.

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