Structural knowledge transfer for learning Sum-Product Networks

Jianjun Zhao, Shen Shyang Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


To learn an effective Sum-Product Network (SPN) for probabilistic inference, one needs to have a substantial amount of data. In the case when the training dataset is small, SPN performance can be degraded. In this paper, we investigate how transfer learning can improve a SPN when the number of training examples is limited. In particular, we consider a structural transfer setting where (i) one does not have a source dataset but a source SPN, and (ii) there is some kind of similarity between the source SPN and the target domain. We propose a transfer learning approach called TopTrSPN, utilizing the information of the first layer clusters in the source SPN to learn the first layer of the target SPN. Our approach is motivated by transfer learning characteristics of Convolution Neural Network (CNN) as SPN can be viewed as a probabilistic, general-purpose convolution network. Moreover, since the source SPN may have some distribution differences from the target domain, we perform matching between the two by filtering out inconsistent variables. Empirical results on twenty benchmark datasets show the feasibility of our proposed transfer learning approach for SPN structure learning a target domain. Moreover, our proposed transfer learning approach shows encouraging performance when it is applied to text datasets with different set of variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-166
Number of pages8
JournalKnowledge-Based Systems
StatePublished - Apr 15 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Software
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Artificial Intelligence


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