‘Transfer learning’ jump-starts new AI projects

No statistical algorithm can be the master of all machine learning application domains. That’s because the domain knowledge encoded in that algorithm is specific to the analytical challenge for which it was constructed. If you try to apply that same algorithm to a data source that differs in some way, large or small, from the original domain’s training data, its predictive power may fall flat.

That said, a new application domain may have so much in common with prior applications that data scientists can’t be blamed for trying to reuse hard-won knowledge from prior models. This is a well-established but fast-evolving frontier of data science known as “transfer learning” (but goes by other names such as knowledge transfer, inductive transfer, and meta learning).

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