Multi-Task Metric Learning on Network Data

10 Nov 2014  ·  Chen Fang, Daniel N. Rockmore ·

Multi-task learning (MTL) improves prediction performance in different contexts by learning models jointly on multiple different, but related tasks. Network data, which are a priori data with a rich relational structure, provide an important context for applying MTL. In particular, the explicit relational structure implies that network data is not i.i.d. data. Network data also often comes with significant metadata (i.e., attributes) associated with each entity (node). Moreover, due to the diversity and variation in network data (e.g., multi-relational links or multi-category entities), various tasks can be performed and often a rich correlation exists between them. Learning algorithms should exploit all of these additional sources of information for better performance. In this work we take a metric-learning point of view for the MTL problem in the network context. Our approach builds on structure preserving metric learning (SPML). In particular SPML learns a Mahalanobis distance metric for node attributes using network structure as supervision, so that the learned distance function encodes the structure and can be used to predict link patterns from attributes. SPML is described for single-task learning on single network. Herein, we propose a multi-task version of SPML, abbreviated as MT-SPML, which is able to learn across multiple related tasks on multiple networks via shared intermediate parametrization. MT-SPML learns a specific metric for each task and a common metric for all tasks. The task correlation is carried through the common metric and the individual metrics encode task specific information. When combined together, they are structure-preserving with respect to individual tasks. MT-SPML works on general networks, thus is suitable for a wide variety of problems. In experiments, we challenge MT-SPML on two real-word problems, where MT-SPML achieves significant improvement.

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