Uncertainty-based Continual Learning with Adaptive Regularization

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

AuthorFeedback Bibtex MetaReview Metadata Paper Reviews Supplemental


Hongjoon Ahn, Sungmin Cha, Donggyu Lee, Taesup Moon


We introduce a new neural network-based continual learning algorithm, dubbed as Uncertainty-regularized Continual Learning (UCL), which builds on traditional Bayesian online learning framework with variational inference. We focus on two significant drawbacks of the recently proposed regularization-based methods: a) considerable additional memory cost for determining the per-weight regularization strengths and b) the absence of gracefully forgetting scheme, which can prevent performance degradation in learning new tasks. In this paper, we show UCL can solve these two problems by introducing a fresh interpretation on the Kullback-Leibler (KL) divergence term of the variational lower bound for Gaussian mean-field approximation. Based on the interpretation, we propose the notion of node-wise uncertainty, which drastically reduces the number of additional parameters for implementing per-weight regularization. Moreover, we devise two additional regularization terms that enforce \emph{stability} by freezing important parameters for past tasks and allow \emph{plasticity} by controlling the actively learning parameters for a new task. Through extensive experiments, we show UCL convincingly outperforms most of recent state-of-the-art baselines not only on popular supervised learning benchmarks, but also on challenging lifelong reinforcement learning tasks. The source code of our algorithm is available at https://github.com/csm9493/UCL.