Multi-task Learning for Computational Biology: Overview and Outlook

  • Christian Widmer
  • Marius Kloft
  • Gunnar Rätsch


We present an overview of the field of regularization-based multi-task learning, which is a relatively recent offshoot of statistical machine learning. We discuss the foundations as well as some of the recent advances of the field, including strategies for learning or refining the measure of task relatedness. We present an example from the application domain of Computational Biology, where multi-task learning has been successfully applied, and give some practical guidelines for assessing a priori, for a given dataset, whether or not multi-task learning is likely to pay off.


Computational Biology Task Similarity Transfer Learning Target Task Multiple Kernel 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Klaus-Robert Müller and Mehryar Mohri for inspiring and helpful discussions. This work was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) under MU 987/6-1 and RA 1894/1-1 as well as by the European Community’s 7th Framework Programme under the PASCAL2 Network of Excellence (ICT-216886). Marius Kloft acknowledges a postdoctoral fellowship by the German Research Foundation (DFG).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Widmer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marius Kloft
    • 1
    • 3
  • Gunnar Rätsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Computational Biology Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Machine Learning GroupTechnische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Courant Institute of Mathematical SciencesNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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