Considering a single prediction task at a time is the most commonly paradigm in machine learning practice. This methodology, however, ignores the potentially relevant information that might be available in other related tasks in the same domain. This becomes even more critical where facing the lack of a sufficient amount of data in a prediction task of an individual subject may lead to deteriorated generalization performance. In such cases, learning multiple related tasks together might offer a better performance by allowing tasks to leverage information from each other. Multi-Task Learning (MTL) is a machine learning framework, which learns multiple related tasks simultaneously to overcome data scarcity limitations of Single Task Learning (STL), and therefore, it results in an improved performance. Although MTL has been actively investigated by the machine learning community, there are only a few studies examining the theoretical justification of this learning framework. The focus of previous studies is on providing learning guarantees in the form of generalization error bounds. The study of generalization bounds is considered as an important problem in machine learning, and, more specifically, in statistical learning theory. This importance is twofold: (1) generalization bounds provide an upper-tail confidence interval for the true risk of a learning algorithm the latter of which cannot be precisely calculated due to its dependency to some unknown distribution P from which the data are drawn, (2) this type of bounds can also be employed as model selection tools, which lead to identifying more accurate learning models. The generalization error bounds are typically expressed in terms of the empirical risk of the learning hypothesis along with a complexity measure of that hypothesis. Although different complexity measures can be used in deriving error bounds, Rademacher complexity has received considerable attention in recent years, due to its superiority to other complexity measures. In fact, Rademacher complexity can potentially lead to tighter error bounds compared to the ones obtained by other complexity measures. However, one shortcoming of the general notion of Rademacher complexity is that it provides a global complexity estimate of the learning hypothesis space, which does not take into consideration the fact that learning algorithms, by design, select functions belonging to a more favorable subset of this space and, therefore, they yield better performing models than the worst case. To overcome the limitation of global Rademacher complexity, a more nuanced notion of Rademacher complexity, the so-called local Rademacher complexity, has been considered, which leads to sharper learning bounds, and as such, compared to its global counterpart, guarantees faster convergence rates in terms of number of samples. Also, considering the fact that locally-derived bounds are expected to be tighter than globally-derived ones, they can motivate better (more accurate) model selection algorithms. While the previous MTL studies provide generalization bounds based on some other complexity measures, in this dissertation, we prove excess risk bounds for some popular kernel-based MTL hypothesis spaces based on the Local Rademacher Complexity (LRC) of those hypotheses. We show that these local bounds have faster convergence rates compared to the previous Global Rademacher Complexity (GRC)-based bounds. We then use our LRC-based MTL bounds to design a new kernel-based MTL model, which enjoys strong learning guarantees. Moreover, we develop an optimization algorithm to solve our new MTL formulation. Finally, we run simulations on experimental data that compare our MTL model to some classical Multi-Task Multiple Kernel Learning (MT-MKL) models designed based on the GRCs. Since the local Rademacher complexities are expected to be tighter than the global ones, our new model is also expected to exhibit better performance compared to the GRC-based models.

Graduation Date





Mollaghasemi, Mansooreh


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Industrial Engineering and Management Systems

Degree Program

Industrial Engineering









Release Date

August 2017

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)