Match What Matters: Generative Implicit Feature Replay for Continual Learning

Kevin Thandiackal, Tiziano Portenier, Andrea Giovannini, Maria Gabrani, Orcun Goksel

Neural networks are prone to catastrophic forgetting when trained incrementally on different tasks. In order to prevent forgetting, most existing methods retain a small subset of previously seen samples, which in turn can be used for joint training with new tasks. While this is indeed effective, it may not always be possible to store such samples, e.g., due to data protection regulations. In these cases, one can instead employ generative models to create artificial samples or features representing memories from previous tasks. Following a similar direction, we propose GenIFeR (Generative Implicit Feature Replay) for class-incremental learning. The main idea is to train a generative adversarial network (GAN) to generate images that contain realistic features. While the generator creates images at full resolution, the discriminator only sees the corresponding features extracted by the continually trained classifier. Since the classifier compresses raw images into features that are actually relevant for classification, the GAN can match this target distribution more accurately. On the other hand, allowing the generator to create full resolution images has several benefits: In contrast to previous approaches, the feature extractor of the classifier does not have to be frozen. In addition, we can employ augmentations on generated images, which not only boosts classification performance, but also mitigates discriminator overfitting during GAN training. We empirically show that GenIFeR is superior to both conventional generative image and feature replay. In particular, we significantly outperform the state-of-the-art in generative replay for various settings on the CIFAR-100 and CUB-200 datasets.

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