Transfer Learning by Adaptive Merging of Multiple Models
Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Medical Imaging with Deep Learning, PMLR 102:185-196, 2019.
Transfer learning has been an important ingredient of state-of-the-art deep learning models. In particular, it has significant impact when little data is available for the target task, such as in many medical imaging applications. Typically, transfer learning means pre-training the target model on a related task which has sufficient data available. However, often pre-trained models from several related tasks are available, and it would be desirable to transfer their combined knowledge by automatic weighting and merging. For this reason, we propose T-IMM (Transfer Incremental Mode Matching), a method to leverage several pre-trained models, which extends the concept of Incremental Mode Matching from lifelong learning to the transfer learning setting. Our method introduces layer wise mixing ratios, which are learned automatically and fuse multiple pre-trained models before fine-tuning on the new task. We demonstrate the efficacy of our method by the example of brain tumor segmentation in MRI (BRATS 2018 Challange). We show that fusing weights according to our framework, merging two models trained on general brain parcellation can greatly enhance the final model performance for small training sets when compared to standard transfer methods or state-of the art initialization. We further demonstrate that the benefit remains even when training on the entire Brats 2018 data set (255 patients).