Triplex transfer learning: Exploiting both shared and distinct concepts for text classification

Fuzhen Zhuang, Ping Luo, Changying Du, Qing He, Zhongzhi Shi, Hui Xiong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Transfer learning focuses on the learning scenarios when the test data from target domains and the training data from source domains are drawn from similar but different data distributions with respect to the raw features. Along this line, some recent studies revealed that the high-level concepts, such as word clusters, could help model the differences of data distributions, and thus are more appropriate for classification. In other words, these methods assume that all the data domains have the same set of shared concepts, which are used as the bridge for knowledge transfer. However, in addition to these shared concepts, each domain may have its own distinct concepts. In light of this, we systemically analyze the high-level concepts, and propose a general transfer learning framework based on nonnegative matrix trifactorization, which allows to explore both shared and distinct concepts among all the domains simultaneously. Since this model provides more flexibility in fitting the data, it can lead to better classification accuracy. Moreover, we propose to regularize the manifold structure in the target domains to improve the prediction performances. To solve the proposed optimization problem, we also develop an iterative algorithm and theoretically analyze its convergence properties. Finally, extensive experiments show that the proposed model can outperform the baseline methods with a significant margin. In particular, we show that our method works much better for the more challenging tasks when there are distinct concepts in the data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6606822
Pages (from-to)1191-1203
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Cybernetics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Common concept
  • distinct concept
  • distribution mismatch
  • nonnegative matrix trifactorization
  • triplex transfer learning


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