Disentangled Latent Spaces Facilitate Data-Driven Auxiliary Learning


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In deep learning, auxiliary objectives are often used to facilitate learning in situations where data is scarce, or the principal task is extremely complex. This idea is primarily inspired by the improved generalization capability induced by solving multiple tasks simultaneously, which leads to a more robust shared representation. Nevertheless, finding optimal auxiliary tasks that give rise to the desired improvement is a crucial problem that often requires hand-crafted solutions or expensive meta-learning approaches. In this paper, we propose a novel framework, dubbed Detaux, whereby a weakly supervised disentanglement procedure is used to discover new unrelated classification tasks and the associated labels that can be exploited with the principal task in any Multi-Task Learning (MTL) model. The disentanglement procedure works at a representation level, isolating a subspace related to the principal task, plus an arbitrary number of orthogonal subspaces. In the most disentangled subspaces, through a clustering procedure, we generate the additional classification tasks, and the associated labels become their representatives. Subsequently, the original data, the labels associated with the principal task, and the newly discovered ones can be fed into any MTL framework. Extensive validation on both synthetic and real data, along with various ablation studies, demonstrate promising results, revealing the potential in what has been, so far, an unexplored connection between learning disentangled representations and MTL. The code will be made publicly available upon acceptance.
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