- Keywords: continual learning, catastrophic forgetting, prototypes, image classification, few-shot continual learning
- TL;DR: Prototype recall: a method to prevent catastrophic forgetting in few-shot image classification task
- Abstract: Continual learning is a critical ability of continually acquiring and transferring knowledge without catastrophically forgetting previously learned knowledge. However, enabling continual learning for AI remains a long-standing challenge. In this work, we propose a novel method, Prototype Recalls, that efficiently embeds and recalls previously learnt knowledge to tackle catastrophic forgetting issue. In particular, we consider continual learning in classification tasks. For each classification task, our method learns a metric space containing a set of prototypes where embedding of the samples from the same class cluster around prototypes and class-representative prototypes are separated apart. To alleviate catastrophic forgetting, our method preserves the embedding function from the samples to the previous metric space, through our proposed prototype recalls from previous tasks. Specifically, the recalling process is implemented by replaying a small number of samples from previous tasks and correspondingly matching their embedding to their nearest class-representative prototypes. Compared with recent continual learning methods, our contributions are fourfold: first, our method achieves the best memory retention capability while adapting quickly to new tasks. Second, our method uses metric learning for classification and does not require adding in new neurons given new object classes. Third, our method is more memory efficient since only class-representative prototypes need to be recalled. Fourth, our method suggests a promising solution for few-shot continual learning. Without tampering with the performance on initial tasks, our method learns novel concepts given a few training examples of each class in new tasks.