Feature Transformers: A Unified Representation Learning Framework for Lifelong Learning

Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Despite the recent advances in representation learning, lifelong learning continues to be one of the most challenging and unconquered problems. Catastrophic forgetting and data privacy constitute two of the important challenges for a successful lifelong learner. Further, existing techniques are designed to handle only specific manifestations of lifelong learning, whereas a practical lifelong learner is expected to switch and adapt seamlessly to different scenarios. In this paper, we present a single, unified mathematical framework for handling the myriad variants of lifelong learning, while alleviating these two challenges. We utilize an external memory to store only the features representing past data and learn richer and newer representations incrementally through transformation neural networks - feature transformers. We define, simulate and demonstrate exemplary performance on a realistic lifelong experimental setting using the MNIST rotations dataset, paving the way for practical lifelong learners. To illustrate the applicability of our method in data sensitive domains like healthcare, we study the pneumothorax classification problem from X-ray images, achieving near gold standard performance. We also benchmark our approach with a number of state-of-the art methods on MNIST rotations and iCIFAR100 datasets demonstrating superior performance.
  • Keywords: continual learning, deep learning, lifelong learning, new task learning, representation learning
  • TL;DR: Single generic mathematical framework for lifelong learning paradigms with data privacy
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