Efficient Lifelong Learning with A-GEM

arXiv.org Machine Learning

In lifelong learning, the learner is presented with a sequence of tasks, incrementally building a data-driven prior which may be leveraged to speed up learning of a new task. In this work, we investigate the efficiency of current lifelong approaches, in terms of sample complexity, computational and memory cost. Towards this end, we first introduce a new and a more realistic evaluation protocol, whereby learners observe each example only once and hyper-parameter selection is done on a small and disjoint set of tasks, which is not used for the actual learning experience and evaluation. Second, we introduce a new metric measuring how quickly a learner acquires a new skill. Third, we propose an improved version of GEM (Lopez-Paz & Ranzato, 2017), dubbed Averaged GEM (A-GEM), which enjoys the same or even better performance as GEM, while being almost as computationally and memory efficient as EWC (Kirkpatrick et al., 2016) and other regularization-based methods. Finally, we show that all algorithms including A-GEM can learn even more quickly if they are provided with task descriptors specifying the classification tasks under consideration. Our experiments on several standard lifelong learning benchmarks demonstrate that A-GEM has the best trade-off between accuracy and efficiency.


Online Continual Learning with Maximally Interfered Retrieval

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Continual learning, the setting where a learning agent is faced with a never ending stream of data, continues to be a great challenge for modern machine learning systems. In particular the online or "single-pass through the data" setting has gained attention recently as a natural setting that is difficult to tackle. Methods based on replay, either generative or from a stored memory, have been shown to be effective approaches for continual learning, matching or exceeding the state of the art in a number of standard benchmarks. These approaches typically rely on randomly selecting samples from the replay memory or from a generative model, which is suboptimal. In this work we consider a controlled sampling of memories for replay. We retrieve the samples which are most interfered, i.e. whose prediction will be most negatively impacted by the foreseen parameters update. We show a formulation for this sampling criterion in both the generative replay and the experience replay setting, producing consistent gains in performance and greatly reduced forgetting.


Prototype Reminding for Continual Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Continual learning is a critical ability of continually acquiring and transferring knowledge without catastrophically forgetting previously learned knowledge. However, enabling continual learning for AI remains a long-standing challenge. In this work, we propose a novel method, Prototype Reminding, that efficiently embeds and recalls previously learnt knowledge to tackle catastrophic forgetting issue. In particular, we consider continual learning in classification tasks. For each classification task, our method learns a metric space containing a set of prototypes where embedding of the samples from the same class cluster around prototypes and class-representative prototypes are separated apart. To alleviate catastrophic forgetting, our method preserves the embedding function from the samples to the previous metric space, through our proposed prototype reminding from previous tasks. Specifically, the reminding process is implemented by replaying a small number of samples from previous tasks and correspondingly matching their embedding to their nearest class-representative prototypes. Compared with recent continual learning methods, our contributions are fourfold: first, our method achieves the best memory retention capability while adapting quickly to new tasks. Second, our method uses metric learning for classification, and does not require adding in new neurons given new object classes. Third, our method is more memory efficient since only class-representative prototypes need to be recalled. Fourth, our method suggests a promising solution for few-shot continual learning. Without tampering with the performance on initial tasks, our method learns novel concepts given a few training examples of each class in new tasks.


Online continual learning with no task boundaries

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Continual learning is the ability of an agent to learn online with a non-stationary and never-ending stream of data. A key component for such never-ending learning process is to overcome the catastrophic forgetting of previously seen data, a problem that neural networks are well known to suffer from. The solutions developed so far often relax the problem of continual learning to the easier task-incremental setting, where the stream of data is divided into tasks with clear boundaries. In this paper, we break the limits and move to the more challenging online setting where we assume no information of tasks in the data stream. We start from the idea that each learning step should not increase the losses of the previously learned examples through constraining the optimization process. This means that the number of constraints grows linearly with the number of examples, which is a serious limitation. We develop a solution to select a fixed number of constraints that we use to approximate the feasible region defined by the original constraints. We compare our approach against the methods that rely on task boundaries to select a fixed set of examples, and show comparable or even better results, especially when the boundaries are blurry or when the data distributions are imbalanced.


Scalable Recollections for Continual Lifelong Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Given the recent success of Deep Learning applied to a variety of single tasks, it is natural to consider more human-realistic settings. Perhaps the most difficult of these settings is that of continual lifelong learning, where the model must learn online over a continuous stream of non-stationary data. A successful continual lifelong learning system must have three key capabilities: it must learn and adapt over time, it must not forget what it has learned, and it must be efficient in both training time and memory. Recent techniques have focused their efforts primarily on the first two capabilities while questions of efficiency remain largely unexplored. In this paper, we consider the problem of efficient and effective storage of experiences over very large time-frames. In particular we consider the case where typical experiences are O(n) bits and memories are limited to O(k) bits for k << n. We present a novel scalable architecture and training algorithm in this challenging domain and provide an extensive evaluation of its performance. Our results show that we can achieve considerable gains on top of state-of-the-art methods such as GEM.