Understanding the role of training regimes in continual learning

Seyed Iman Mirzadeh, Mehrdad Farajtabar, Razvan Pascanu, Hassan Ghasemzadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Catastrophic forgetting affects the training of neural networks, limiting their ability to learn multiple tasks sequentially. From the perspective of the well established plasticity-stability dilemma, neural networks tend to be overly plastic, lacking the stability necessary to prevent the forgetting of previous knowledge, which means that as learning progresses, networks tend to forget previously seen tasks. This phenomenon coined in the continual learning literature, has attracted much attention lately, and several families of approaches have been proposed with different degrees of success. However, there has been limited prior work extensively analyzing the impact that different training regimes – learning rate, batch size, regularization method– can have on forgetting. In this work, we depart from the typical approach of altering the learning algorithm to improve stability. Instead, we hypothesize that the geometrical properties of the local minima found for each task play an important role in the overall degree of forgetting. In particular, we study the effect of dropout, learning rate decay, and batch size, on forming training regimes that widen the tasks’ local minima and consequently, on helping it not to forget catastrophically. Our study provides practical insights to improve stability via simple yet effective techniques that outperform alternative baselines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
Volume2020-December
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event34th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Dec 6 2020Dec 12 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing

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