Episodic Multi-Task Learning with Heterogeneous Neural Processes

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Jiayi Shen, Xiantong Zhen, Qi Wang, Marcel Worring


This paper focuses on the data-insufficiency problem in multi-task learning within an episodic training setup. Specifically, we explore the potential of heterogeneous information across tasks and meta-knowledge among episodes to effectively tackle each task with limited data. Existing meta-learning methods often fail to take advantage of crucial heterogeneous information in a single episode, while multi-task learning models neglect reusing experience from earlier episodes. To address the problem of insufficient data, we develop Heterogeneous Neural Processes (HNPs) for the episodic multi-task setup. Within the framework of hierarchical Bayes, HNPs effectively capitalize on prior experiences as meta-knowledge and capture task-relatedness among heterogeneous tasks, mitigating data-insufficiency. Meanwhile, transformer-structured inference modules are designed to enable efficient inferences toward meta-knowledge and task-relatedness. In this way, HNPs can learn more powerful functional priors for adapting to novel heterogeneous tasks in each meta-test episode. Experimental results show the superior performance of the proposed HNPs over typical baselines, and ablation studies verify the effectiveness of the designed inference modules.