Learning How to Learn is Learning With Point Sets

Thomas P. Minka and Rosalind W. Picard
MIT Media Lab note (written 1997, revised 1999)

This paper develops a simple interpretation of learning how to learn: it is ordinary learning, but from point sets, rather than points. This is an alternative to the Bayesian viewpoint of ``learning a prior'' (Baxter, 1996b). The idea behind learning how to learn is to partition the data into separate learning tasks, learn a model for the tasks, and then apply this model to new tasks. Ordinary learning methods do the same thing, but with individual data points as the ``tasks.'' The partitioning for learning how to learn can be recovered automatically, generalizing the idea of ``task clustering'' (Thrun and O'Sullivan, 1996). Virtually all existing algorithms fit naturally into this unifying framework, including learning a distance metric and learning internal representations.

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Last modified: Fri Dec 10 14:24:58 GMT 2004