Learning Invariant Representation for Continual Learning

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Continual learning aims to provide intelligent agents that are capable of learning continually a sequence of tasks, building on previously learned knowledge. A key challenge in this learning paradigm is catastrophically forgetting previously learned tasks when the agent faces a new one. Current rehearsal-based methods show their success in mitigating the catastrophic forgetting problem by replaying samples from previous tasks during learning a new one. However, these methods are infeasible when the data of previous tasks is not accessible. In this work, we propose a new pseudo-rehearsal-based method, named learning Invariant Representation for Continual Learning (IRCL), in which class-invariant representation is disentangled from a conditional generative model and jointly used with class-specific representation to learn the sequential tasks. Disentangling the shared invariant representation helps to learn continually a sequence of tasks, while being more robust to forgetting and having better knowledge transfer. We focus on class incremental learning where there is no knowledge about task identity during inference. We empirically evaluate our proposed method on two well-known benchmarks for continual learning: split MNIST and split Fashion MNIST. The experimental results show that our proposed method outperforms regularization-based methods by a big margin and is better than the state-of-the-art pseudo-rehearsal-based method. Finally, we analyze the role of the shared invariant representation in mitigating the forgetting problem especially when the number of replayed samples for each previous task is small.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAAAI-21 International Workshop on Meta-Learning for Computer Vision (MeL4CV), 2021
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Dec 2020


  • cs.LG
  • cs.AI
  • cs.CV


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