Continual learning studies agents that learn from streams of tasks without forgetting previous ones while adapting to new ones. Two recent continual-learning scenarios have opened new avenues of research. In meta-continual learning, the model is pre-trained to minimize catastrophic forgetting of previous tasks. In continual-meta learning, the aim is to train agents for faster remembering of previous tasks through adaptation. In their original formulations, both methods have limitations. We stand on their shoulders to propose a more general scenario, OSAKA, where an agent must quickly solve new (out-of-distribution) tasks, while also requiring fast remembering. We show that current continual learning, meta-learning, meta-continual learning, and continual-meta learning techniques fail in this new scenario. We propose Continual-MAML, an online extension of the popular MAML algorithm as a strong baseline for this scenario. We empirically show that Continual-MAML is better suited to the new scenario than the aforementioned methodologies, as well as standard continual learning and meta-learning approaches.
In biological learning, data are used to improve performance not only on the current task, but also on previously encountered and as yet unencountered tasks. In contrast, classical machine learning starts from a blank slate, or tabula rasa, using data only for the single task at hand. While typical transfer learning algorithms can improve performance on future tasks, their performance on prior tasks degrades upon learning new tasks (called catastrophic forgetting). Many recent approaches for continual or lifelong learning have attempted to maintain performance given new tasks. But striving to avoid forgetting sets the goal unnecessarily low: the goal of lifelong learning, whether biological or artificial, should be to improve performance on all tasks (including past and future) with any new data. We propose omnidirectional transfer learning algorithms, which includes two special cases of interest: decision forests and deep networks. Our key insight is the development of the omni-voter layer, which ensembles representations learned independently on all tasks to jointly decide how to proceed on any given new data point, thereby improving performance on both past and future tasks. Our algorithms demonstrate omnidirectional transfer in a variety of simulated and real data scenarios, including tabular data, image data, spoken data, and adversarial tasks. Moreover, they do so with quasilinear space and time complexity.
In continual learning, the learner faces a stream of data whose distribution changes over time. Modern neural networks are known to suffer under this setting, as they quickly forget previously acquired knowledge. To address such catastrophic forgetting, many continual learning methods implement different types of experience replay, re-learning on past data stored in a small buffer known as episodic memory. In this work, we complement experience replay with a new objective that we call anchoring, where the learner uses bilevel optimization to update its knowledge on the current task, while keeping intact the predictions on some anchor points of past tasks. These anchor points are learned using gradient-based optimization to maximize forgetting, which is approximated by fine-tuning the currently trained model on the episodic memory of past tasks. Experiments on several supervised learning benchmarks for continual learning demonstrate that our approach improves the standard experience replay in terms of both accuracy and forgetting metrics and for various sizes of episodic memories.
Despite significant advances, continual learning models still suffer from catastrophic forgetting when exposed to incrementally available data from non-stationary distributions. Rehearsal approaches alleviate the problem by maintaining and replaying a small episodic memory of previous samples, often implemented as an array of independent memory slots. In this work, we propose to augment such an array with a learnable random graph that captures pairwise similarities between its samples, and use it not only to learn new tasks but also to guard against forgetting. Empirical results on several benchmark datasets show that our model consistently outperforms recently proposed baselines for task-free continual learning.
Many few-shot learning approaches have been designed under the meta-learning framework, which learns from a variety of learning tasks and generalizes to new tasks. These meta-learning approaches achieve the expected performance in the scenario where all samples are drawn from the same distributions (i.i.d. observations). However, in real-world applications, few-shot learning paradigm often suffers from data shift, i.e., samples in different tasks, even in the same task, could be drawn from various data distributions. Most existing few-shot learning approaches are not designed with the consideration of data shift, and thus show downgraded performance when data distribution shifts. However, it is non-trivial to address the data shift problem in few-shot learning, due to the limited number of labeled samples in each task. Targeting at addressing this problem, we propose a novel metric-based meta-learning framework to extract task-specific representations and task-shared representations with the help of knowledge graph. The data shift within/between tasks can thus be combated by the combination of task-shared and task-specific representations. The proposed model is evaluated on popular benchmarks and two constructed new challenging datasets. The evaluation results demonstrate its remarkable performance.
A popular assumption for out-of-distribution generalization is that the training data comprises sub-datasets, each drawn from a distinct distribution; the goal is then to "interpolate" these distributions and "extrapolate" beyond them -- this objective is broadly known as domain generalization. A common belief is that ERM can interpolate but not extrapolate and that the latter is considerably more difficult, but these claims are vague and lack formal justification. In this work, we recast generalization over sub-groups as an online game between a player minimizing risk and an adversary presenting new test distributions. Under an existing notion of inter- and extrapolation based on reweighting of sub-group likelihoods, we rigorously demonstrate that extrapolation is computationally much harder than interpolation, though their statistical complexity is not significantly different. Furthermore, we show that ERM -- or a noisy variant -- is provably minimax-optimal for both tasks. Our framework presents a new avenue for the formal analysis of domain generalization algorithms which may be of independent interest.
Recent progress in pretraining language models on large textual corpora led to a surge of improvements for downstream NLP tasks. Whilst learning linguistic knowledge, these models may also be storing relational knowledge present in the training data, and may be able to answer queries structured as "fill-in-the-blank" cloze statements. Language models have many advantages over structured knowledge bases: they require no schema engineering, allow practitioners to query about an open class of relations, are easy to extend to more data, and require no human supervision to train. We present an in-depth analysis of the relational knowledge already present (without fine-tuning) in a wide range of state-of-the-art pretrained language models. We find that (i) without fine-tuning, BERT contains relational knowledge competitive with traditional NLP methods that have some access to oracle knowledge, (ii) BERT also does remarkably well on open-domain question answering against a supervised baseline, and (iii) certain types of factual knowledge are learned much more readily than others by standard language model pretraining approaches. The surprisingly strong ability of these models to recall factual knowledge without any fine-tuning demonstrates their potential as unsupervised open-domain QA systems. The code to reproduce our analysis is available at https://github.com/facebookresearch/LAMA.
Methods proposed in the literature towards continual deep learning typically operate in a task-based sequential learning setup. A sequence of tasks is learned, one at a time, with all data of current task available but not of previous or future tasks. Task boundaries and identities are known at all times. This setup, however, is rarely encountered in practical applications. Therefore we investigate how to transform continual learning to an online setup. We develop a system that keeps on learning over time in a streaming fashion, with data distributions gradually changing and without the notion of separate tasks. To this end, we build on the work on Memory Aware Synapses, and show how this method can be made online by providing a protocol to decide i) when to update the importance weights, ii) which data to use to update them, and iii) how to accumulate the importance weights at each update step. Experimental results show the validity of the approach in the context of two applications: (self-)supervised learning of a face recognition model by watching soap series and learning a robot to avoid collisions.
Meta-learning is a powerful tool that builds on multi-task learning to learn how to quickly adapt a model to new tasks. In the context of reinforcement learning, meta-learning algorithms can acquire reinforcement learning procedures to solve new problems more efficiently by meta-learning prior tasks. The performance of meta-learning algorithms critically depends on the tasks available for meta-training: in the same way that supervised learning algorithms generalize best to test points drawn from the same distribution as the training points, meta-learning methods generalize best to tasks from the same distribution as the meta-training tasks. In effect, meta-reinforcement learning offloads the design burden from algorithm design to task design. If we can automate the process of task design as well, we can devise a meta-learning algorithm that is truly automated. In this work, we take a step in this direction, proposing a family of unsupervised meta-learning algorithms for reinforcement learning. We describe a general recipe for unsupervised meta-reinforcement learning, and describe an effective instantiation of this approach based on a recently proposed unsupervised exploration technique and model-agnostic meta-learning. We also discuss practical and conceptual considerations for developing unsupervised meta-learning methods. Our experimental results demonstrate that unsupervised meta-reinforcement learning effectively acquires accelerated reinforcement learning procedures without the need for manual task design, significantly exceeds the performance of learning from scratch, and even matches performance of meta-learning methods that use hand-specified task distributions.
Modern communication networks have become very complicated and highly dynamic, which makes them hard to model, predict and control. In this paper, we develop a novel experience-driven approach that can learn to well control a communication network from its own experience rather than an accurate mathematical model, just as a human learns a new skill (such as driving, swimming, etc). Specifically, we, for the first time, propose to leverage emerging Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) for enabling model-free control in communication networks; and present a novel and highly effective DRL-based control framework, DRL-TE, for a fundamental networking problem: Traffic Engineering (TE). The proposed framework maximizes a widely-used utility function by jointly learning network environment and its dynamics, and making decisions under the guidance of powerful Deep Neural Networks (DNNs). We propose two new techniques, TE-aware exploration and actor-critic-based prioritized experience replay, to optimize the general DRL framework particularly for TE. To validate and evaluate the proposed framework, we implemented it in ns-3, and tested it comprehensively with both representative and randomly generated network topologies. Extensive packet-level simulation results show that 1) compared to several widely-used baseline methods, DRL-TE significantly reduces end-to-end delay and consistently improves the network utility, while offering better or comparable throughput; 2) DRL-TE is robust to network changes; and 3) DRL-TE consistently outperforms a state-ofthe-art DRL method (for continuous control), Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient (DDPG), which, however, does not offer satisfying performance.
We introduce techniques for rapidly transferring the information stored in one neural net into another neural net. The main purpose is to accelerate the training of a significantly larger neural net. During real-world workflows, one often trains very many different neural networks during the experimentation and design process. This is a wasteful process in which each new model is trained from scratch. Our Net2Net technique accelerates the experimentation process by instantaneously transferring the knowledge from a previous network to each new deeper or wider network. Our techniques are based on the concept of function-preserving transformations between neural network specifications. This differs from previous approaches to pre-training that altered the function represented by a neural net when adding layers to it. Using our knowledge transfer mechanism to add depth to Inception modules, we demonstrate a new state of the art accuracy rating on the ImageNet dataset.