Continual learning with hypernetworks

Johannes von Oswald, Christian Henning, João Sacramento, Benjamin F. Grewe

Keywords: capacity, catastrophic forgetting, continual learning, hypernetworks, memory, transfer learning

Thursday: Continual Learning and Few Shot Learning
Thursday: Continual Learning and Few Shot Learning

Abstract: Artificial neural networks suffer from catastrophic forgetting when they are sequentially trained on multiple tasks. To overcome this problem, we present a novel approach based on task-conditioned hypernetworks, i.e., networks that generate the weights of a target model based on task identity. Continual learning (CL) is less difficult for this class of models thanks to a simple key feature: instead of recalling the input-output relations of all previously seen data, task-conditioned hypernetworks only require rehearsing task-specific weight realizations, which can be maintained in memory using a simple regularizer. Besides achieving state-of-the-art performance on standard CL benchmarks, additional experiments on long task sequences reveal that task-conditioned hypernetworks display a very large capacity to retain previous memories. Notably, such long memory lifetimes are achieved in a compressive regime, when the number of trainable hypernetwork weights is comparable or smaller than target network size. We provide insight into the structure of low-dimensional task embedding spaces (the input space of the hypernetwork) and show that task-conditioned hypernetworks demonstrate transfer learning. Finally, forward information transfer is further supported by empirical results on a challenging CL benchmark based on the CIFAR-10/100 image datasets.

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