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In Journal of neural engineering ; h5-index 52.0

OBJECTIVE : Most deep neural networks (DNNs) used as BCI classifiers are rarely viable for more than one person and are relatively shallow compared to the state-of-the-art in the wider machine learning literature. The goal of this work is to frame these as a unified challenge and reconsider how transfer learning is used to overcome these difficulties.

APPROACH : We present two variations of a holistic approach to transfer learning with DNNs for BCI that rely on a deeper network called TIDNet. Our approaches use multiple subjects for training in the interest of creating a more universal classifier that is applicable for new (unseen) subjects. The first approach is purely subject-invariant and the second targets specific subjects, without loss of generality. We use five publicly accessible datasets covering a range of tasks and compare our approaches to state-of-the-art alternatives in detail.

MAIN RESULTS : We observe that TIDNet in conjunction with our training augmentations is more consistent when compared to shallower baselines, and in some cases exhibits large and significant improvements, for instance motor imagery classification improvements of over 8%. Furthermore, we show that our suggested multi-domain learning (MDL) strategy strongly outperforms simply fine-tuned general models when targeting specific subjects, while remaining more generalizable to still unseen subjects.

SIGNIFICANCE : TIDNet in combination with a data alignment-based training augmentation proves to be a consistent classification approach of single raw trials and can be trained even with the inclusion of corrupted trials. Our MDL strategy calls into question the intuition to fine-tune trained classifiers to new subjects, as it proves simpler and more accurate while remaining general. Furthermore, we show evidence that augmented TIDNet training makes better use of additional subjects, showing continued and greater performance improvement over shallower alternatives, indicating promise for a new subject-invariant paradigm rather than a subject-specific one.

Kostas Demetres, Rudzicz Frank


BCI, Brain Computer Interface, Brain Machine Interface, Deep Neural Networks, Domain Generalization, Fine-tuning, Transfer Learning