Transfer learning is a research problem in machine learning that focuses on storing knowledge gained while solving one problem and applying it to a different but related problem. For example, knowledge gained while learning to recognize cars could apply when trying to recognize trucks. This area of research bears some relation to the long history of psychological literature on transfer of learning, although formal ties between the two fields are limited.
In 1997, the journal Machine Learning published a special issue devoted to transfer learning, and by 1998, the field had advanced to include multi-task learning, along with a more formal analysis of its theoretical foundations. Learning to Learn, edited by Pratt and Sebastian Thrun, is a 1998 review of the subject.
Transfer learning has also been applied in cognitive science, with the journal Connection Science publishing a special issue on reuse of neural networks through transfer in 1996.
Algorithms are available for transfer learning in Markov logic networks and Bayesian networks. Transfer has been applied to building utilization, text classification and spam filtering.
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