AI/ML, Cloud Computing, Data Analytics

3 Mins Read

Transfer Learning: Leveraging Knowledge for Better Machine Learning

Voiced by Amazon Polly

Introduction of Transfer Learning

Transfer learning is a machine learning technique that allows you to reuse knowledge gained from a previous model. Instead of creating and training a new model from scratch for a related problem, you use a pre-trained model as a starting point. You take the pre-trained model, which was trained on a large dataset for a similar but different task, and transfer the weights and knowledge to a new model. Then you fine-tune the new model with a small dataset specific to your new task. This method leverages the existing knowledge from the original model to boost the new model’s performance – especially when you only have limited data for the new task. It requires less data, resources, and training time than building a model from scratch. Transfer learning is used widely in computer vision, natural language processing, and speech recognition to improve performance and efficiency.

Fundamental uses of Transfer Learning

Transfer learning leverages knowledge from large, pre-trained models to boost the performance of specialized models. For image classification, we can fine-tune models pre-trained on ImageNet to classify narrow sets of images more efficiently. For instance, using a pre-trained ImageNet model for flower classification requires less data and training time than building a model from scratch. Similarly, for natural language tasks like sentiment analysis, utilizing pre-trained word embeddings like GloVe as a starting point provides the model with learned word representations that improve performance.

Transfer learning allows us to build specialized models that perform well even with limited data by utilizing knowledge gained from models trained on larger, generic tasks.

In this blog, we will examine several widely used pre-trained architectures, such as VGG and Inception, all of which are trained on the ImageNet dataset and can be implemented through popular frameworks such as TensorFlow, Keras, and Pytorch.”

Empowering organizations to become ‘data driven’ enterprises with our Cloud experts.

  • Reduced infrastructure costs
  • Timely data-driven decisions
Get Started

ImageNet Dataset Description

The ImageNet dataset is a vast collection of annotated photographs primarily used for computer vision research, containing approximately 14 million images, over 21,000 classes or groups, and more than one million images with bounding box annotations. The ImageNet large scale visual recognition Challenge (ILSVRC) (Russakovsky et al., 2015) is a well-known challenge in deep learning that uses this dataset. The challenge aims to develop a model that can accurately classify images into 1000 separate object categories.

In image classification, the ImageNet challenge serves as a benchmark standard for evaluating the performance of various computer vision-based algorithms. During this challenge, CNN and deep learning techniques dominate the leaderboard.

Pre-trained CNN models

There are two popular models that we can consider. These models can be employed for various tasks, including image generation, neural style transfer, image classification, image captioning, and anomaly detection. The two models are:

  • VGG Model
  • Inceptionv3 (GoogLeNet)

VGG Model

VGG is a convolutional neural network consisting of 19 layers, developed and trained by Karen Simonyan and Andrew Zisserman at the University of Oxford in 2014. You can find more information about this network in their paper titled “Very Deep Convolutional Networks for Large-Scale Image Recognition,” published in 2015. (Simonyan and Zisserman, 2015)


The VGG-19 model was trained using over one million images from the ImageNet database and comes with ImageNet trained weights that you can import. With this pre-trained network, you can classify up to 1000 objects. The network was trained on 224×224 pixel color images.

Inceptionv3 (GoogLeNet)

Inceptionv3 is a convolutional neural network with 50 layers, developed and trained by Google. You can find detailed information about this network in the “Going Deeper with Convolutions” paper. The pre-trained version of Inceptionv3 with ImageNet weights can classify up to 1000 objects. Compared to VGG19, the input image size for this network was larger at 299×299 pixels. In 2014’s ImageNet competition, Inceptionv3 outperformed VGG19 to take the top spot.(Szegedy et al., n.d.)



With easy access to state-of-the-art neural network models, attempting to create our model with limited resources can be akin to reinventing the wheel. Therefore, it’s more beneficial to work with these pre-trained models by adding a few new layers on top that are tailored to our specific computer vision task and then training these models. This approach is more likely to yield successful results than building a model from scratch.

Pioneers in Cloud Consulting & Migration Services

  • Reduced infrastructural costs
  • Accelerated application deployment
Get Started

About CloudThat

CloudThat is an official AWS (Amazon Web Services) Advanced Consulting Partner and Training partner and Microsoft Gold Partner, helping people develop knowledge of the cloud and help their businesses aim for higher goals using best-in-industry cloud computing practices and expertise. We are on a mission to build a robust cloud computing ecosystem by disseminating knowledge on technological intricacies within the cloud space. Our blogs, webinars, case studies, and white papers enable all the stakeholders in the cloud computing sphere.

Drop a query if you have any questions regarding Transfer Learning, I will get back to you quickly.

To get started, go through our Consultancy page and Managed Services Package, CloudThat’s offerings.


1. What is the CNN model?

ANS: – CNN stands for Convolutional Neural Network. It is a type of neural network, a class of machine learning models loosely inspired by the structure and function of the human brain. CNNs are particularly suitable for image recognition and computer vision tasks because they can automatically learn and extract features from images by performing convolution and pooling operations.

2. What is computer vision?

ANS: – Computer vision algorithms and techniques aim to mimic the human visual system’s ability to recognize patterns, identify objects, and extract relevant information from visual data. Computer vision applications are broad and diverse, including object recognition and tracking, image and video analysis, 3D modeling, facial recognition, medical imaging, autonomous vehicles, and robotics.

3. What is deep learning?

ANS: – Deep learning is a subfield of artificial intelligence that involves building algorithms and neural networks to model and solve complex problems. It is based on the concept of neural networks, designed to learn from large amounts of data and make predictions or decisions based on that learning.

WRITTEN BY Sai Pratheek



    Click to Comment

Get The Most Out Of Us

Our support doesn't end here. We have monthly newsletters, study guides, practice questions, and more to assist you in upgrading your cloud career. Subscribe to get them all!