Effective Transfer Learning for NLP

Abstract: Transfer learning, the practice of applying knowledge gained on one machine learning task to aid the solution of a second task, has seen historic success in the field of computer vision. The output representations of generic image classification models trained on ImageNet have been leveraged to build models that detect the presence of custom objects in natural images. Image classification tasks that would typically require hundreds of thousands of images can be tackled with mere dozens of training examples per class thanks to the use of these pretrained reprsentations. The field of natural language processing, however, has seen more limited gains from transfer learning, with most approaches limited to the use of pretrained word representations. In this talk, we explore parameter and data efficient mechanisms for transfer learning on text, and show practical improvements on real-world tasks. In addition, we demo the use of Enso, a newly open-sourced library designed to simplify benchmarking of transfer learning methods on a variety of target tasks. Enso provides tools for the fair comparison of varied feature representations and target task models as the amount of training data made available to the target model is incrementally increased.

Bio: Madison is the Machine Learning Architect and Co-founder at indico data solutions where he has played a key role in developing the company's enterprise AI platform for unstructured content. Prior to indico, he designed and built a NLP system at Fetchnotes and was an active open source contributor to projects like Python3, pylearn2, and theano.