Efficient Controllable Multi-Task Architectures

We aim to train a multi-task model such that users can adjust the desired compute budget and relative importance of task performances after deployment, without retraining. This enables optimizing performance for dynamically varying user needs, without heavy computational overhead to train and save models for various scenarios. To this end, we propose a multi-task model consisting of a shared encoder and task-specific decoders where both encoder and decoder channel widths are slimmable. Our key idea is to control the task importance by varying the capacities of task-specific decoders, while controlling the total computational cost by jointly adjusting the encoder capacity. This improves overall accuracy by allowing a stronger encoder for a given budget, increases control over computational cost, and delivers high-quality slimmed sub-architectures based on user’s constraints. Our training strategy involves a novel `Configuration-Invariant Knowledge Distillation’ loss that enforces backbone representations to be invariant under different runtime width configurations to enhance accuracy. Further, we present a simple but effective search algorithm that translates user constraints to runtime width configurations of both the shared encoder and task decoders, for sampling the sub-architectures. The key rule for the search algorithm is to provide a larger computational budget to the higher preferred task decoder, while searching a shared encoder configuration that enhances the overall MTL performance. Various experiments on three multi-task benchmarks (PASCALContext, NYUDv2, and CIFAR100-MTL) with diverse backbone architectures demonstrate the advantage of our approach. For example, our method shows a higher controllability by 33.5% in the NYUD-v2 dataset over prior methods, while incurring much less compute cost.

Split to Learn: Gradient Split for Multi-Task Human Image Analysis

This paper presents an approach to train a unified deep network that simultaneously solves multiple human-related tasks. A multi-task framework is favorable for sharing information across tasks under restricted computational resources. However, tasks not only share information but may also compete for resources and conflict with each other, making the optimization of shared parameters difficult and leading to suboptimal performance. We propose a simple but effective training scheme called GradSplit that alleviates this issue by utilizing asymmetric inter-task relations. Specifically, at each convolution module, it splits features into T groups for T tasks and trains each group only using the gradient back-propagated from the task losses with which it does not have conflicts. During training, we apply GradSplit to a series of convolution modules. As a result, each module is trained to generate a set of task-specific features using the shared features from the previous module. This enables a network to use complementary information across tasks while circumventing gradient conflicts. Experimental results show that GradSplit achieves a better accuracy-efficiency trade-off than existing methods. It minimizes accuracy drop caused by task conflicts while significantly saving compute resources in terms of both FLOPs and memory at inference. We further show that GradSplit achieves higher cross-dataset accuracy compared to single-task and other multi-task networks.

Controllable Dynamic Multi-Task Architectures

Multi-task learning commonly encounters competition for resources among tasks, specifically when model capacity is limited. This challenge motivates models which allow control over the relative importance of tasks and total compute cost during inference time. In this work, we propose such a controllable multi-task network that dynamically adjusts its architecture and weights to match the desired task preference as well as the resource constraints. In contrast to the existing dynamic multi-task approaches that adjust only the weights within a fixed architecture, our approach affords the flexibility to dynamically control the total computational cost and match the user-preferred task importance better. We propose a disentangled training of two hyper networks, by exploiting task affinity and a novel branching regularized loss, to take input preferences and accordingly predict tree-structured models with adapted weights. Experiments on three multi-task benchmarks, namely PASCAL-Context, NYU-v2, and CIFAR-100, show the efficacy of our approach. Project page is available at