In this paper, we focus on the important yet understudied problem of Continual Federated Learning (CFL), where a server communicates with a set of clients to incrementally learn new concepts over time without sharing or storing any data. The complexity of this problem is compounded by challenges from both the Continual and Federated Learning perspectives. Specifically, models trained in a CFL setup suffer from catastrophic forgetting which is exacerbated by data heterogeneity across clients. Existing attempts at this problem tend to impose large overheads on clients and communication channels or require access to stored data which renders them unsuitable for real-world use due to privacy. In this paper, we attempt to tackle forgetting and heterogeneity while minimizing overhead costs and without requiring access to any stored data. We achieve this by leveraging a prompting based approach (such that only prompts and classifier heads have to be communicated) and proposing a novel and lightweight generation and distillation scheme to consolidate client models at the server. We formulate this problem for image classification and establish strong baselines for comparison, conduct experiments on CIFAR-100 as well as challenging, large-scale datasets like ImageNet-R and DomainNet. Our approach outperforms both existing methods and our own baselines by as much as 7% while significantly reducing communication and client-level computation costs.
Recent works demonstrate a remarkable ability to customize text-to-image diffusion models while only providing a few example images. What happens if you try to customize such models using multiple, fine-grained concepts in a sequential (i.e., continual) manner? In our work, we show that recent state-of-the-art customization of text-to-image models suffer from catastrophic forgetting when new concepts arrive sequentially. Specifically, when adding a new concept, the ability to generate high quality images of past, similar concepts degrade. To circumvent this forgetting, we propose a new method, C-LoRA, composed of a continually self-regularized low-rank adaptation in cross attention layers of the popular Stable Diffusion model. Furthermore, we use customization prompts which do not include the word of the customized object (i.e., "person" for a human face dataset) and are initialized as completely random embeddings. Importantly, our method induces only marginal additional parameter costs and requires no storage of user data for replay. We show that C-LoRA not only outperforms several baselines for our proposed setting of text-to-image continual customization, which we refer to as Continual Diffusion, but that we achieve a new state-of-the-art in the well-established rehearsal-free continual learning setting for image classification. The high achieving performance of C-LoRA in two separate domains positions it as a compelling solution for a wide range of applications, and we believe it has significant potential for practical impact.
Large-scale pre-trained Vision & Language (VL) models have shown remarkable performance in many applications, enabling replacing a fixed set of supported classes with zero-shot open vocabulary reasoning over (almost arbitrary) natural language prompts. However, recent works have uncovered a fundamental weakness of these models. For example, their difficulty to understand Visual Language Concepts (VLC) that go 'beyond nouns' such as the meaning of non-object words (e.g., attributes, actions, relations, states, etc.), or difficulty in performing compositional reasoning such as understanding the significance of the order of the words in a sentence. In this work, we investigate to which extent purely synthetic data could be leveraged to teach these models to overcome such shortcomings without compromising their zero-shot capabilities. We contribute Synthetic Visual Concepts (SyViC) - a million-scale synthetic dataset and data generation codebase allowing to generate additional suitable data to improve VLC understanding and compositional reasoning of VL models. Additionally, we propose a general VL finetuning strategy for effectively leveraging SyViC towards achieving these improvements. Our extensive experiments and ablations on VL-Checklist, Winoground, and ARO benchmarks demonstrate that it is possible to adapt strong pre-trained VL models with synthetic data significantly enhancing their VLC understanding (e.g. by 9.9% on ARO and 4.3% on VL-Checklist) with under 1% drop in their zero-shot accuracy.
Computer vision models suffer from a phenomenon known as catastrophic forgetting when learning novel concepts from continuously shifting training data. Typical solutions for this continual learning problem require extensive rehearsal of previously seen data, which increases memory costs and may violate data privacy. Recently, the emergence of large-scale pre-trained vision transformer models has enabled prompting approaches as an alternative to data-rehearsal. These approaches rely on a key-query mechanism to generate prompts and have been found to be highly resistant to catastrophic forgetting in the well-established rehearsal-free continual learning setting. However, the key mechanism of these methods is not trained end-to-end with the task sequence. Our experiments show that this leads to a reduction in their plasticity, hence sacrificing new task accuracy, and inability to benefit from expanded parameter capacity. We instead propose to learn a set of prompt components which are assembled with input-conditioned weights to produce input-conditioned prompts, resulting in a novel attention-based end-to-end key-query scheme. Our experiments show that we outperform the current SOTA method DualPrompt on established benchmarks by as much as 5.4% in average accuracy. We also outperform the state of art by as much as 6.6% accuracy on a continual learning benchmark which contains both class-incremental and domain-incremental task shifts, corresponding to many practical settings.
Generalized Zero-Shot Learning (GZSL) aims to train a classifier that can generalize to unseen classes, using a set of attributes as auxiliary information, and the visual features extracted from a pre-trained convolutional neural network. While recent GZSL methods have explored various techniques to leverage the capacity of these features, there has been an extensive growth of representation learning techniques that remain under-explored. In this work, we investigate the utility of different GZSL methods when using different feature extractors, and examine how these models' pre-training objectives, datasets, and architecture design affect their feature representation ability. Our results indicate that 1) methods using generative components for GZSL provide more advantages when using recent feature extractors; 2) feature extractors pre-trained using self-supervised learning objectives and knowledge distillation provide better feature representations, increasing up to 15% performance when used with recent GZSL techniques; 3) specific feature extractors pre-trained with larger datasets do not necessarily boost the performance of GZSL methods. In addition, we investigate how GZSL methods fare against CLIP, a more recent multi-modal pre-trained model with strong zero-shot performance. We found that GZSL tasks still benefit from generative-based GZSL methods along with CLIP's internet-scale pre-training to achieve state-of-the-art performance in fine-grained datasets. We release a modular framework for analyzing representation learning issues in GZSL here: https://github.com/uvavision/TV-GZSL
Recently, large-scale pre-trained Vision-and-Language (VL) foundation models have demonstrated remarkable capabilities in many zero-shot downstream tasks, achieving competitive results for recognizing objects defined by as little as short text prompts. However, it has also been shown that VL models are still brittle in Structured VL Concept (SVLC) reasoning, such as the ability to recognize object attributes, states, and inter-object relations. This leads to reasoning mistakes, which need to be corrected as they occur by teaching VL models the missing SVLC skills; often this must be done using private data where the issue was found, which naturally leads to a data-free continual (no task-id) VL learning setting. In this work, we introduce the first Continual Data-Free Structured VL Concepts Learning (ConStruct-VL) benchmark and show it is challenging for many existing data-free CL strategies. We, therefore, propose a data-free method comprised of a new approach of Adversarial Pseudo-Replay (APR) which generates adversarial reminders of past tasks from past task models. To use this method efficiently, we also propose a continual parameter-efficient Layered-LoRA (LaLo) neural architecture allowing no-memory-cost access to all past models at train time. We show this approach outperforms all data-free methods by as much as ~7% while even matching some levels of experience-replay (prohibitive for applications where data-privacy must be preserved).
Federated Learning (FL) seeks to distribute model training across local clients without collecting data in a centralized data-center, hence removing data-privacy concerns. A major challenge for FL is data heterogeneity (where each client's data distribution can differ) as it can lead to weight divergence among local clients and slow global convergence. The current SOTA FL methods designed for data heterogeneity typically impose regularization to limit the impact of non-IID data and are stateful algorithms, i.e., they maintain local statistics over time. While effective, these approaches can only be used for a special case of FL involving only a small number of reliable clients. For the more typical applications of FL where the number of clients is large (e.g., edge-device and mobile applications), these methods cannot be applied, motivating the need for a stateless approach to heterogeneous FL which can be used for any number of clients. We derive a first-order gradient regularization to penalize inconsistent local updates due to local data heterogeneity. Specifically, to mitigate weight divergence, we introduce a first-order approximation of the global data distribution into local objectives, which intuitively penalizes updates in the opposite direction of the global update. The end result is a stateless FL algorithm that achieves 1) significantly faster convergence (i.e., fewer communication rounds) and 2) higher overall converged performance than SOTA methods under non-IID data distribution. Importantly, our approach does not impose unrealistic limits on the client size, enabling learning from a large number of clients as is typical in most FL applications.
As progress is made on training machine learning models on incrementally expanding classification tasks (i.e., incremental learning), a next step is to translate this progress to industry expectations. One technique missing from incremental learning is automatic architecture design via Neural Architecture Search (NAS). In this paper, we show that leveraging NAS for incremental learning results in strong performance gains for classification tasks. Specifically, we contribute the following: first, we create a strong baseline approach for incremental learning based on Differentiable Architecture Search (DARTS) and state-of-the-art incremental learning strategies, outperforming many existing strategies trained with similar-sized popular architectures; second, we extend the idea of architecture search to regularize architecture forgetting, boosting performance past our proposed baseline. We evaluate our method on both RF signal and image classification tasks, and demonstrate we can achieve up to a 10% performance increase over state-of-the-art methods. Most importantly, our contribution enables learning from continuous distributions on real-world application data for which the complexity of the data distribution is unknown, or the modality less explored (such as RF signal classification).
Continual learning describes a setting where machine learning models learn novel concepts from continuously shifting training data, while simultaneously avoiding degradation of knowledge on previously seen classes (a phenomenon known as the catastrophic forgetting problem) which may disappear from the training data for extended periods of time. Current approaches for continual learning of a single expanding task (aka class-incremental continual learning) require extensive rehearsal of previously seen data to avoid this degradation of knowledge. Unfortunately, rehearsal comes at a sharp cost to memory and computation, and it may also violate data-privacy. Instead, we explore combining knowledge distillation and parameter regularization in new ways to achieve strong continual learning performance without rehearsal. Specifically, we take a deep dive into common continual learning techniques: prediction distillation, feature distillation, L2 parameter regularization, and EWC parameter regularization. We first disprove the common assumption that parameter regularization techniques fail for rehearsal-free continual learning of a single, expanding task. Next, we explore how to leverage knowledge from a pre-trained model in rehearsal-free continual learning and find that vanilla L2 parameter regularization outperforms EWC parameter regularization and feature distillation. We then highlight the impact of the rehearsal-free continual learning settings with a classifier expansion benchmark, showing that a strategy based on our findings combined with a positive/negative label balancing heuristic can close the performance gap between the upper bound and the existing strategies by up to roughly 50%. Finally, we show that a simple method consisting of pre-training, L2 regularization, and prediction distillation can even outperform rehearsal-based methods on the common CIFAR-100 benchmark.