Correcting instrumental variation and time-varying drift: A transfer learning approach with autoencoders

Ke Yan, Dapeng Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Electronic noses (e-noses) are instruments that can be used to measure gas samples conveniently. Based on the measured signal, the type and concentration of the gas can be predicted by pattern recognition algorithms. However, e-noses are often affected by influential factors, such as instrumental variation and time-varying drift. From the viewpoint of pattern recognition, the factors make the posterior distribution of the test data drift from that of the training data, thus will degrade the accuracy of the prediction models. In this paper, we propose drift correction autoencoder (DCAE) to address this problem. DCAE learns to model and correct the influential factors explicitly with the help of transfer samples. It generates drift-corrected and discriminative representation of the original data, which can then be applied to various prediction algorithms. We evaluate DCAE on data sets with instrumental variation and complex time-varying drift. Prediction models are trained on samples collected with one device or in the initial time period, then tested on other devices or time periods. Experimental results show that the DCAE outperforms typical drift correction algorithms and autoencoder-based transfer learning methods. It can improve the robustness of e-nose systems and greatly enhance their performance in real-world applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7492203
Pages (from-to)2012-2022
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • Autoencoder
  • calibration transfer
  • drift correction
  • electronic nose (e-nose)
  • spectroscopy
  • transfer learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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