Author's School

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Author's Department/Program

Computer Science and Engineering


English (en)

Date of Award

Spring 3-19-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Kilian Quirin Weinberger


The generalization properties of most existing machine learning techniques are predicated on the assumptions that 1) a sufficiently large quantity of training data is available; 2) the training and testing data come from some common distribution. Although these assumptions are often met in practice, there are also many scenarios in which training data from the relevant distribution is insufficient. We focus on making use of additional data, which is readily available or can be obtained easily but comes from a different distribution than the testing data, to aid learning.

We present five learning scenarios, depending on how the distribution we used to sample the additional training data differs from the testing distribution: 1) learning with weak supervision; 2) domain adaptation; 3) learning from multiple domains; 4) learning from corrupted data; 5) learning with partial supervision.

We introduce two strategies and manifest them in five ways to cope with the difference between the training and testing distribution. The first strategy, which gives rise to Pseudo Multi-view Co-training: PMC) and Co-training for Domain Adaptation: CODA), is inspired by the co-training algorithm for multi-view data. PMC generalizes co-training to the more common single view data and allows us to learn from weakly labeled data retrieved free from the web. CODA integrates PMC with an another feature selection component to address the feature incompatibility between domains for domain adaptation. PMC and CODA are evaluated on a variety of real datasets, and both yield record performance.

The second strategy marginalized dropout leads to marginalized Stacked Denoising Autoencoders: mSDA), Marginalized Corrupted Features: MCF) and FastTag: FastTag). mSDA diminishes the difference between distributions associated with different domains by learning a new representation through marginalized corruption and reconstruciton. MCF learns from a known distribution which is created by corrupting a small set of training data, and improves robustness of learned classifiers by training on ``infinitely'' many data sampled from the distribution. FastTag applies marginalized dropout to the output of partially labeled data to recover missing labels for multi-label tasks. These three algorithms not only achieve the state-of-art performance in various tasks, but also deliver orders of magnitude speed up at training and testing comparing to competing algorithms.


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