Skip to yearly menu bar Skip to main content


UniTabE: A Universal Pretraining Protocol for Tabular Foundation Model in Data Science

Yazheng Yang · Yuqi Wang · Guang Liu · Ledell Wu · Qi Liu

Halle B #191
[ ]
Thu 9 May 1:45 a.m. PDT — 3:45 a.m. PDT


Recent advancements in Natural Language Processing (NLP) have witnessed the groundbreaking impact of pretrained models, yielding impressive outcomes across various tasks. This study seeks to extend the power of pretraining methodologies to facilitating the prediction over tables in data science, a domain traditionally overlooked, yet inherently challenging due to the plethora of table schemas intrinsic to different tasks. The primary research questions underpinning this work revolve around the establishment of a universal pretraining protocol for tables with varied structures, the generalizability and transferability of learned knowledge across tasks, the adaptation to diverse downstream applications, and the incorporation of incremental columns over time. In response to these challenges, we introduce UniTabE, a straightforward yet effective method designed to process tables in a uniform manner, devoid of constraints imposed by specific table structures. UniTabE's core concept relies on representing each basic table element with a module, termed TabUnit. This is subsequently followed by a Transformer encoder to refine the representation. Moreover, our model is designed to facilitate pretraining and finetuning through the utilization of free-form prompts. In order to implement the pretraining phase, we curated an expansive tabular dataset comprising approximately 13 billion samples, meticulously gathered from the Kaggle platform. This research primarily centers on classification and regression tasks involving tabular data, and conducts rigorous experimental testing and analyses to validate the effectiveness of our methodology. The experimental results demonstrate UniTabE's superior performance against several baseline models across a multitude of benchmark datasets. This, therefore, underscores UniTabE's potential to significantly enhance the semantic representation of tabular data, thereby marking a significant stride for tabular data analysis.

Chat is not available.