Keywords: Task-Free Continual Learning
Abstract: Task-free continual learning is the machine-learning setting where a model is trained online with data generated by a nonstationary stream. Conventional wisdom suggests that, in this setting, models are trained using an approach called experience replay, where the risk is computed both with respect to current stream observations and to a small subset of past observations. In this work, we explain both theoretically and empirically how experience replay biases the outputs of the model towards recent stream observations. Moreover, we propose a simple approach to mitigate this bias online, by changing how the output layer of the model is optimized. We show that our approach improves significantly the learning performance of experience-replay approaches over different datasets. Our findings suggest that, when performing experience replay, the output layer of the model should be optimized separately from the preceding layers.
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