Workshop: Workshop on Distribution Shifts: Connecting Methods and Applications

Active Learning Over Multiple Domains in Natural Language Tasks

Shayne Longpre · Julia Reisler · Edward Huang · Yi Lu · Andrew Frank · Nikhil Ramesh · Chris DuBois


Studies of active learning traditionally assume the target and source data stem from a single domain. However, in realistic applications, practitioners often require active learning with multiple sources of out-of-distribution data, where it is unclear a priori which data sources will help or hurt the target domain. We survey a wide variety of techniques in active learning (AL), domain shift detection (DS), and multi-domain sampling to examine this challenging setting for question answering and sentiment analysis. Among 18 acquisition functions from 4 families of methods, we find H-Divergence methods, and particularly our proposed variant DAL-E, yield effective results, averaging 2-3% improvements over the random baseline. Our findings yield the first comprehensive analysis of both existing and novel methods for practitioners faced with multi-domain active learning for natural language tasks.

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