Is Learning The n-th Thing Any Easier Than Learning The First?

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 8 (NIPS 1995)

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Sebastian Thrun


This paper investigates learning in a lifelong context. Lifelong learning addresses situations in which a learner faces a whole stream of learn(cid:173) ing tasks. Such scenarios provide the opportunity to transfer knowledge across multiple learning tasks, in order to generalize more accurately from less training data. In this paper, several different approaches to lifelong learning are described, and applied in an object recognition domain. It is shown that across the board, lifelong learning approaches generalize consistently more accurately from less training data, by their ability to transfer knowledge across learning tasks.