TriRE: A Multi-Mechanism Learning Paradigm for Continual Knowledge Retention and Promotion

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Preetha Vijayan, Prashant Bhat, Bahram Zonooz, Elahe Arani


Continual learning (CL) has remained a persistent challenge for deep neural networks due to catastrophic forgetting (CF) of previously learned tasks. Several techniques such as weight regularization, experience rehearsal, and parameter isolation have been proposed to alleviate CF. Despite their relative success, these research directions have predominantly remained orthogonal and suffer from several shortcomings, while missing out on the advantages of competing strategies. On the contrary, the brain continually learns, accommodates, and transfers knowledge across tasks by simultaneously leveraging several neurophysiological processes, including neurogenesis, active forgetting, neuromodulation, metaplasticity, experience rehearsal, and context-dependent gating, rarely resulting in CF. Inspired by how the brain exploits multiple mechanisms concurrently, we propose TriRE, a novel CL paradigm that encompasses retaining the most prominent neurons for each task, revising and solidifying the extracted knowledge of current and past tasks, and actively promoting less active neurons for subsequent tasks through rewinding and relearning. Across CL settings, TriRE significantly reduces task interference and surpasses different CL approaches considered in isolation.