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Oral
Progress & Compress: A scalable framework for continual learning
Jonathan Schwarz · Wojciech Czarnecki · Jelena Luketina · Agnieszka Grabska-Barwinska · Yee Teh · Razvan Pascanu · Raia Hadsell

Fri Jul 13 07:00 AM -- 07:20 AM (PDT) @ Victoria

We introduce a conceptually simple and scalable framework for continual learning domains where tasks are learned sequentially. Our method is constant in the number of parameters and is designed to preserve performance on previously encountered tasks while accelerating learning progress on subsequent problems. This is achieved by training a network with two components: A knowledge base, capable of solving previously encountered problems, which is connected to an active column that is employed to efficiently learn the current task. After learning a new task, the active column is distilled into the knowledge base, taking care to protect any previously acquired skills. This cycle of active learning (progression) followed by consolidation (compression) requires no architecture growth, no access to or storing of previous data or tasks, and no task-specific parameters. We demonstrate the progress & compress approach on sequential classification of handwritten alphabets as well as two reinforcement learning domains: Atari games and 3D maze navigation.

Author Information

Jonathan Schwarz (DeepMind)
Wojciech Czarnecki (DeepMind)
Jelena Luketina (The University of Oxford)
Agnieszka Grabska-Barwinska (DeepMind)
Yee Teh (DeepMind)
Razvan Pascanu (DeepMind)
Raia Hadsell (DeepMind)

Raia Hadsell, a senior research scientist at DeepMind, has worked on deep learning and robotics problems for over 10 years. Her early research developed the notion of manifold learning using Siamese networks, which has been used extensively for invariant feature learning. After completing a PhD with Yann LeCun, which featured a self-supervised deep learning vision system for a mobile robot, her research continued at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute and SRI International, and in early 2014 she joined DeepMind in London to study artificial general intelligence. Her current research focuses on the challenge of continual learning for AI agents and robotic systems. While deep RL algorithms are capable of attaining superhuman performance on single tasks, they cannot transfer that performance to additional tasks, especially if experienced sequentially. She has proposed neural approaches such as policy distillation, progressive nets, and elastic weight consolidation to solve the problem of catastrophic forgetting and improve transfer learning.

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