Generalising via Meta-Examples for Continual Learning in the Wild

01/28/2021 ∙ by Alessia Bertugli, et al. ∙ 4

Learning quickly and continually is still an ambitious task for neural networks. Indeed, many real-world applications do not reflect the learning setting where neural networks shine, as data are usually few, mostly unlabelled and come as a stream. To narrow this gap, we introduce FUSION - Few-shot UnSupervIsed cONtinual learning - a novel strategy which aims to deal with neural networks that "learn in the wild", simulating a real distribution and flow of unbalanced tasks. We equip FUSION with MEML - Meta-Example Meta-Learning - a new module that simultaneously alleviates catastrophic forgetting and favours the generalisation and future learning of new tasks. To encourage features reuse during the meta-optimisation, our model exploits a single inner loop per task, taking advantage of an aggregated representation achieved through the use of a self-attention mechanism. To further enhance the generalisation capability of MEML, we extend it by adopting a technique that creates various augmented tasks and optimises over the hardest. Experimental results on few-shot learning benchmarks show that our model exceeds the other baselines in both FUSION and fully supervised case. We also explore how it behaves in standard continual learning consistently outperforming state-of-the-art approaches.

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