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A Probabilistic Framework for Lifelong Test-Time Adaptation

Dhanajit Brahma · Piyush Rai

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 341


Test-time adaptation (TTA) is the problem of updating a pre-trained source model at inference time given test input(s) from a different target domain. Most existing TTA approaches assume the setting in which the target domain is stationary, i.e., all the test inputs come from a single target domain. However, in many practical settings, the test input distribution might exhibit a lifelong/continual shift over time. Moreover, existing TTA approaches also lack the ability to provide reliable uncertainty estimates, which is crucial when distribution shifts occur between the source and target domain. To address these issues, we present PETAL (Probabilistic lifElong Test-time Adaptation with seLf-training prior), which solves lifelong TTA using a probabilistic approach, and naturally results in (1) a student-teacher framework, where the teacher model is an exponential moving average of the student model, and (2) regularizing the model updates at inference time using the source model as a regularizer. To prevent model drift in the lifelong/continual TTA setting, we also propose a data-driven parameter restoration technique which contributes to reducing the error accumulation and maintaining the knowledge of recent domains by restoring only the irrelevant parameters. In terms of predictive error rate as well as uncertainty based metrics such as Brier score and negative log-likelihood, our method achieves better results than the current state-of-the-art for online lifelong test-time adaptation across various benchmarks, such as CIFAR-10C, CIFAR-100C, ImageNetC, and ImageNet3DCC datasets. The source code for our approach is accessible at

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