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Multi-Task Feature Learning

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3 Author(s)

We present a method for learning a low-dimensional representation which is shared across a set of multiple related tasks. The method builds upon the wellknown 1-norm regularization problem using a new regularizer which controls the number of learned features common for all the tasks. We show that this problem is equivalent to a convex optimization problem and develop an iterative algorithm for solving it. The algorithm has a simple interpretation: it alternately performs a supervised and an unsupervised step, where in the latter step we learn commonacross- tasks representations and in the former step we learn task-specific functions using these representations. We report experiments on a simulated and a real data set which demonstrate that the proposed method dramatically improves the performance relative to learning each task independently. Our algorithm can also be used, as a special case, to simply select — not learn — a few common features across the tasks.