Forgetting in Deep Learning


Neural network models suffer from the phenomenon of catastrophic forgetting: a model can drastically lose its generalization ability on a task after being trained on a new task. This usually means a new task will likely override the weights that have been learned in the past (see Figure 1), and thus degrade the model performance for the past tasks. Without fixing this problem, a single neural network will not be able to adapt itself to a continuous learning scenario, because it forgets the existing information/knowledge when it learns new things. For realistic applications of deep learning, where continual learning can be crucial, catastrophic forgetting would need to be avoided. However, there is only limited study about catastrophic forgetting and its underlying causes.

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