Joint feature selection with multi-task LassoΒΆ

The multi-task lasso allows to fit multiple regression problems jointly enforcing the selected features to be the same across tasks. This example simulates sequential measurements, each task is a time instant, and the relevant features vary in amplitude over time while being the same. The multi-task lasso imposes that features that are selected at one time point are select for all time point. This makes feature selection by the Lasso more stable.


# Author: Alexandre Gramfort <>
# License: BSD 3 clause

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import numpy as np

from sklearn.linear_model import MultiTaskLasso, Lasso

rng = np.random.RandomState(42)

# Generate some 2D coefficients with sine waves with random frequency and phase
n_samples, n_features, n_tasks = 100, 30, 40
n_relevant_features = 5
coef = np.zeros((n_tasks, n_features))
times = np.linspace(0, 2 * np.pi, n_tasks)
for k in range(n_relevant_features):
    coef[:, k] = np.sin((1. + rng.randn(1)) * times + 3 * rng.randn(1))

X = rng.randn(n_samples, n_features)
Y =, coef.T) + rng.randn(n_samples, n_tasks)

coef_lasso_ = np.array([Lasso(alpha=0.5).fit(X, y).coef_ for y in Y.T])
coef_multi_task_lasso_ = MultiTaskLasso(alpha=1.).fit(X, Y).coef_

Plot support and time series

fig = plt.figure(figsize=(8, 5))
plt.subplot(1, 2, 1)
plt.ylabel('Time (or Task)')
plt.text(10, 5, 'Lasso')
plt.subplot(1, 2, 2)
plt.ylabel('Time (or Task)')
plt.text(10, 5, 'MultiTaskLasso')
fig.suptitle('Coefficient non-zero location')

feature_to_plot = 0
lw = 2
plt.plot(coef[:, feature_to_plot], color='seagreen', linewidth=lw,
         label='Ground truth')
plt.plot(coef_lasso_[:, feature_to_plot], color='cornflowerblue', linewidth=lw,
plt.plot(coef_multi_task_lasso_[:, feature_to_plot], color='gold', linewidth=lw,
plt.legend(loc='upper center')
plt.ylim([-1.1, 1.1])
  • ../../_images/sphx_glr_plot_multi_task_lasso_support_001.png
  • ../../_images/sphx_glr_plot_multi_task_lasso_support_002.png

Total running time of the script: (0 minutes 0.320 seconds)

Download Python source code:
Download IPython notebook: plot_multi_task_lasso_support.ipynb