Transfer Learning using Task-Level Features with Application to Information Retrieval

We propose a probabilistic transfer learning model that uses task-level features to control the task mixture selection in a hierarchical Bayesian model. These task-level features, although rarely used in existing approaches, can provide additional information to model complex task distributions and allow effective transfer to new tasks especially when only limited number of data are available. To estimate the model parameters, we develop an empirical Bayes method based on variational approximation techniques. Our experiments on information retrieval show that the proposed model achieves significantly better performance compared with other transfer learning methods.

Rong Yan, Jian Zhang