Multi-task learning is an approach in machine learning where a model is trained to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, with the goal of improving the overall performance and efficiency of the system. The premise is that by learning several tasks concurrently, the model can leverage commonalities and differences across tasks, effectively gaining more information than when trained on individual tasks in isolation.
In multi-task learning, multiple related prediction problems that share a common data representation are solved together. Each task has its specific loss function, and the total loss function is often a weighted sum of each task’s loss function. The tasks feed into the machine learning model, influencing the model’s representation to capture what’s common across tasks and what’s unique to each task. This often results in a model that generalizes better, helps avoid overfitting, and improves performance on individual tasks.
Multi-task learning has been used in various fields, such as computer vision, natural language processing, healthcare, and recommendation systems. For example, in natural language processing, a model could learn to understand and generate language, translate between multiple languages, and answer questions, all at the same time. Multi-task learning can also add complexity to the learning process, and deciding how to best share information amongst tasks remains an active area of research.« Back to Glossary Index