Online Structured Meta-learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Huaxiu Yao, Yingbo Zhou, Mehrdad Mahdavi, Zhenhui (Jessie) Li, Richard Socher, Caiming Xiong


Learning quickly is of great importance for machine intelligence deployed in online platforms. With the capability of transferring knowledge from learned tasks, meta-learning has shown its effectiveness in online scenarios by continuously updating the model with the learned prior. However, current online meta-learning algorithms are limited to learn a globally-shared meta-learner, which may lead to sub-optimal results when the tasks contain heterogeneous information that are difficult to share. We overcome this limitation by proposing an online structured meta-learning (OSML) framework. Inspired by the knowledge organization of human and hierarchical feature representation, OSML explicitly disentangles the meta-learner as a meta-hierarchical graph with different knowledge blocks. When a new task is encountered, it constructs a meta-knowledge pathway by either utilizing the most relevant knowledge blocks or exploring new blocks. Through the meta-knowledge pathway, the model is able to quickly adapt to the new task. In addition, new knowledge is further incorporated into the selected blocks. Experiments on three datasets empirically demonstrate the effectiveness and interpretability of our proposed framework, not only under heterogeneous tasks but also under homogeneous settings.