A Unified Domain Adaptation Framework with Distinctive Divergence Analysis

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationTransactions on Machine Learning Research
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


Unsupervised domain adaptation enables knowledge transfer from a labeled source domain to an unlabeled target domain by aligning the learnt features of both domains. The idea is theoretically supported by the generalization bound analysis in Ben-David et al. (2007), which specifies the applicable task (binary classification) and designates a specific distribution divergence measure. Although most distribution-aligning domain adaptation models seek theoretical grounds from this particular bound analysis, they do not actually fit into the stringent conditions. In this paper, we bridge the long-standing theoretical gap in literature by providing a unified generalization bound. Our analysis can well accommodate the classification/regression tasks and most commonly-used divergence measures, and more importantly, it can theoretically recover a large amount of previous models. In addition, we identify the key difference in the distribution divergence measures underlying the diverse models and commit a comprehensive in-depth comparison of the commonly-used divergence measures. Based on the unified generalization bound, we propose new domain adaptation models that achieve transferability through domain-invariant representations and conduct experiments on real-world datasets that corroborate our theoretical findings. We believe these insights are helpful in guiding the future design of distribution-aligning domain adaptation algorithms.