Framework for Multi-task Multiple Kernel Learning and Applications in Genome Analysis

30 Jun 2015  ·  Christian Widmer, Marius Kloft, Vipin T Sreedharan, Gunnar Rätsch ·

We present a general regularization-based framework for Multi-task learning (MTL), in which the similarity between tasks can be learned or refined using $\ell_p$-norm Multiple Kernel learning (MKL). Based on this very general formulation (including a general loss function), we derive the corresponding dual formulation using Fenchel duality applied to Hermitian matrices. We show that numerous established MTL methods can be derived as special cases from both, the primal and dual of our formulation. Furthermore, we derive a modern dual-coordinate descend optimization strategy for the hinge-loss variant of our formulation and provide convergence bounds for our algorithm. As a special case, we implement in C++ a fast LibLinear-style solver for $\ell_p$-norm MKL. In the experimental section, we analyze various aspects of our algorithm such as predictive performance and ability to reconstruct task relationships on biologically inspired synthetic data, where we have full control over the underlying ground truth. We also experiment on a new dataset from the domain of computational biology that we collected for the purpose of this paper. It concerns the prediction of transcription start sites (TSS) over nine organisms, which is a crucial task in gene finding. Our solvers including all discussed special cases are made available as open-source software as part of the SHOGUN machine learning toolbox (available at \url{}).

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