Meta clustering for collaborative learning

Ye Chenglong, Jie Ding, Ghanadan Reza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An emerging number of learning scenarios involve a set of learners/analysts each equipped with a unique dataset and algorithm, who may collaborate with each other to enhance their learning performance. From the perspective of a particular learner, a careless collaboration with task-irrelevant other learners is likely to incur modeling error. A crucial problem is to search for the most appropriate collaborators so that their data and modeling resources can be effectively leveraged. Motivated by this, we propose to study the problem of ‘meta clustering’, where the goal is to identify subsets of relevant learners whose collaboration will improve the performance of each individual learner. In particular, we study the scenario where each learner is performing a supervised regression, and the meta clustering aims to categorize the underlying supervised relations (between responses and predictors) instead of the raw data. We propose a general method named as Select-Exchange-Cluster (SEC) for performing such a clustering. Our method is computationally efficient as it does not require each learner to exchange their raw data. We prove that the SEC method can accurately cluster the learners into appropriate collaboration sets according to their underlying regression functions. Synthetic and real data examples show the desired performance and wide applicability of SEC to a variety of learning tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - May 29 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Distributed computing
  • Fairness
  • Meta clustering
  • Regression

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