Biostatistics Weekly Seminar

Robust Unsupervised Multi-task and Transfer Learning on Gaussian Mixture Models

Yang Feng, PhD
Associate Professor of Biostatistics
School of Global Public Health
New York University

Unsupervised learning has been widely used in many real-world applications. One of the simplest and most important unsupervised learning models is the Gaussian mixture model (GMM). In this work, we study the multi-task learning problem on GMMs, which aims to leverage potentially similar GMM parameter structures among tasks to obtain improved learning performance compared to single-task learning. We propose a multi-task GMM learning procedure based on the EM algorithm that not only can effectively utilize unknown similarity between related tasks but is also robust against a fraction of outlier tasks from arbitrary distributions. The proposed procedure is shown to achieve minimax optimal rate of convergence for both parameter estimation error and the excess mis-clustering error, in a wide range of regimes. Moreover, we generalize our approach to tackle the problem of transfer learning for GMMs, where similar theoretical results are derived. Finally, we demonstrate the effectiveness of our methods through simulations and real data examples. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work studying multi-task and transfer learning on GMMs with theoretical guarantees

Virtual: Zoom Link to Follow
13 September 2023

Speaker Itinerary

Topic revision: r1 - 05 Sep 2023, CierraStreeter

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