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Effect of diversity in Meta-Learning
Ramnath Kumar · Tristan Deleu · Yoshua Bengio
Event URL: https://openreview.net/forum?id=smeVtHQNtbe »

Few-shot learning aims to learn representations that can tackle novel tasks given a small number of examples. Recent studies show that task distribution plays a vital role in the performance of the model. Conventional wisdom is that task diversity should improve the performance of meta-learning. In this work, we find evidence to the contrary; we study different task distributions on a myriad of models and datasets to evaluate the effect of task diversity on meta-learning algorithms. For this experiment, we train on two datasets - Omniglot and miniImageNet and with three broad classes of meta-learning models - Metric-based (i.e., Protonet, Matching Networks), Optimization-based (i.e., MAML, Reptile, and MetaOptNet), and Bayesian meta-learning models (i.e., CNAPs). Our experiments demonstrate that the effect of task diversity on all these algorithms follows a similar trend, and task diversity does not seem to offer any benefits to the learning of the model. Furthermore, we also demonstrate that even a handful of tasks, repeated over multiple batches, would be sufficient to achieve a performance similar to uniform sampling and draws into question the need for additional tasks to create better models.

Author Information

Ramnath Kumar (Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms, University of Montreal, University of Montreal)
Tristan Deleu (Mila - Universite de Montreal)
Yoshua Bengio (Mila / U. Montreal)

Yoshua Bengio (PhD'1991 in Computer Science, McGill University). After two post-doctoral years, one at MIT with Michael Jordan and one at AT&T Bell Laboratories with Yann LeCun, he became professor at the department of computer science and operations research at Université de Montréal. Author of two books (a third is in preparation) and more than 200 publications, he is among the most cited Canadian computer scientists and is or has been associate editor of the top journals in machine learning and neural networks. Since '2000 he holds a Canada Research Chair in Statistical Learning Algorithms, since '2006 an NSERC Chair, since '2005 his is a Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and since 2014 he co-directs its program focused on deep learning. He is on the board of the NIPS foundation and has been program chair and general chair for NIPS. He has co-organized the Learning Workshop for 14 years and co-created the International Conference on Learning Representations. His interests are centered around a quest for AI through machine learning, and include fundamental questions on deep learning, representation learning, the geometry of generalization in high-dimensional spaces, manifold learning and biologically inspired learning algorithms.

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