Task Difficulty Aware Parameter Allocation & Regularization for Lifelong Learning

Wenjin Wang · Yunqing Hu · Qianglong Chen · Yin Zhang

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 349


Parameter regularization or allocation methods are effective in overcoming catastrophic forgetting in lifelong learning. However, they solve all tasks in a sequence uniformly and ignore the differences in the learning difficulty of different tasks. So parameter regularization methods face significant forgetting when learning a new task very different from learned tasks, and parameter allocation methods face unnecessary parameter overhead when learning simple tasks. In this paper, we propose the Parameter Allocation & Regularization (PAR), which adaptively select an appropriate strategy for each task from parameter allocation and regularization based on its learning difficulty. A task is easy for a model that has learned tasks related to it and vice versa. We propose a divergence estimation method based on the Nearest-Prototype distance to measure the task relatedness using only features of the new task. Moreover, we propose a time-efficient relatedness-aware sampling-based architecture search strategy to reduce the parameter overhead for allocation. Experimental results on multiple benchmarks demonstrate that, compared with SOTAs, our method is scalable and significantly reduces the model’s redundancy while improving the model’s performance. Further qualitative analysis indicates that PAR obtains reasonable task-relatedness.

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