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Revisiting Parameter Reuse to Overcome Catastrophic Forgetting in Neural Networks

by   Yuqing Zhao, et al.
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Neural networks tend to forget previously learned knowledge when continuously learning on datasets with varying distributions, a phenomenon known as catastrophic forgetting. More significant distribution shifts among datasets lead to more forgetting. Recently, parameter-isolation-based approaches have shown great potential in overcoming forgetting with significant distribution shifts. However, they suffer from poor generalization as they fix the neural path for each dataset during training and require dataset labels during inference. In addition, they do not support backward knowledge transfer as they prioritize past data over future ones. In this paper, we propose a new adaptive learning method, named AdaptCL, that fully reuses and grows on learned parameters to overcome catastrophic forgetting and allows the positive backward transfer without requiring dataset labels. Our proposed technique adaptively grows on the same neural path by allowing optimal reuse of frozen parameters. Besides, it uses parameter-level data-driven pruning to assign equal priority to the data. We conduct extensive experiments on MNIST Variants, DomainNet, and Food Freshness Detection datasets under different intensities of distribution shifts without requiring dataset labels. Results demonstrate that our proposed method is superior to alternative baselines in minimizing forgetting and enabling positive backward knowledge transfer.


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