Artificial Neuronal Ensembles with Learned Context Dependent GatingDownload PDF

Published: 01 Feb 2023, Last Modified: 23 Feb 2023ICLR 2023 posterReaders: Everyone
Keywords: Continual Learning, Catastrophic Forgetting
TL;DR: A method to alleviate catastrophic forgetting in artificial neural networks using learned context dependent activity gates
Abstract: Biological neural networks are capable of recruiting different sets of neurons to encode different memories. However, when training artificial neural networks on a set of tasks, typically, no mechanism is employed for selectively producing anything analogous to these neuronal ensembles. Further, artificial neural networks suffer from catastrophic forgetting, where the network's performance rapidly deteriorates as tasks are learned sequentially. By contrast, sequential learning is possible for a range of biological organisms. We introduce Learned Context Dependent Gating (LXDG), a method to flexibly allocate and recall `artificial neuronal ensembles', using a particular network structure and a new set of regularization terms. Activities in the hidden layers of the network are modulated by gates, which are dynamically produced during training. The gates are outputs of networks themselves, trained with a sigmoid output activation. The regularization terms we have introduced correspond to properties exhibited by biological neuronal ensembles. The first term penalizes low gate sparsity, ensuring that only a specified fraction of the network is used. The second term ensures that previously learned gates are recalled when the network is presented with input from previously learned tasks. Finally, there is a regularization term responsible for ensuring that new tasks are encoded in gates that are as orthogonal as possible from previously used ones. We demonstrate the ability of this method to alleviate catastrophic forgetting on continual learning benchmarks. When the new regularization terms are included in the model along with Elastic Weight Consolidation (EWC) it achieves better performance on the benchmark `permuted MNIST' than with EWC alone. The benchmark `rotated MNIST' demonstrates how similar tasks recruit similar neurons to the artificial neuronal ensemble.
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