A Framework for Learning Predictive Structures from Multiple Tasks and Unlabeled Data

One of the most important issues in machine learning is whether one can improve the performance of a supervised learning algorithm by including unlabeled data. Methods that use both labeled and unlabeled data are generally referred to as semi-supervised learning. Although a number of such methods are proposed, at the current stage, we still don't have a complete understanding of their effectiveness. This paper investigates a closely related problem, which leads to a novel approach to semi-supervised learning. Specifically we consider learning predictive structures on hypothesis spaces (that is, what kind of classifiers have good predictive power) from multiple learning tasks. We present a general framework in which the structural learning problem can be formulated and analyzed theoretically, and relate it to learning with unlabeled data. Under this framework, algorithms for structural learning will be proposed, and computational issues will be investigated. Experiments will also be given to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithms in the semi-supervised learning setting.

By: Rie Kubota Ando; Tong Zhang

Published in: Journal of Machine Learning Research, volume 6, (no ), pages 1817-1853 in 2005

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