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Workshop: Meta-Learning

Task Similarity Aware Meta Learning: Theory-inspired Improvement on MAML

Pan Zhou


Few-shot learning ability is heavily desired for machine intelligence. By meta-learning a model initialization from training tasks with fast adaptation ability to new tasks, model-agnostic meta-learning (MAML) has achieved remarkable success in a number of few-shot learning applications. However, theoretical understandings on the learning ability of MAML remain absent yet, hindering developing new and more advanced meta learning methods in a principle way. In this work, we solve this problem by theoretically justifying the fast adaptation capability of MAML when applied to new tasks. Specifically, we prove that the learnt meta-initialization can quickly adapt to new tasks with only a few steps of gradient descent. This result, for the first time, explicitly reveals the benefits of the unique designs in MAML. Then we propose a theory-inspired task similarity aware MAML which clusters tasks into multiple groups according to the estimated optimal model parameters and learns group-specific initializations. The proposed method improves upon MAML by speeding up the adaptation and giving stronger few-shot learning ability. Experimental results on the few-shot classification tasks testify its advantages.

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