Nonparametric Teaching for Multiple Learners

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper


Chen Zhang, Xiaofeng Cao, Weiyang Liu, Ivor Tsang, James Kwok


We study the problem of teaching multiple learners simultaneously in the nonparametric iterative teaching setting, where the teacher iteratively provides examples to the learner for accelerating the acquisition of a target concept. This problem is motivated by the gap between current single-learner teaching setting and the real-world scenario of human instruction where a teacher typically imparts knowledge to multiple students. Under the new problem formulation, we introduce a novel framework -- Multi-learner Nonparametric Teaching (MINT). In MINT, the teacher aims to instruct multiple learners, with each learner focusing on learning a scalar-valued target model. To achieve this, we frame the problem as teaching a vector-valued target model and extend the target model space from a scalar-valued reproducing kernel Hilbert space used in single-learner scenarios to a vector-valued space. Furthermore, we demonstrate that MINT offers significant teaching speed-up over repeated single-learner teaching, particularly when the multiple learners can communicate with each other. Lastly, we conduct extensive experiments to validate the practicality and efficiency of MINT.