Nuova ricerca


Dipartimento di Ingegneria "Enzo Ferrari"

Home |


2022 - Class-Incremental Continual Learning into the eXtended DER-verse [Articolo su rivista]
Boschini, Matteo; Bonicelli, Lorenzo; Buzzega, Pietro; Porrello, Angelo; Calderara, Simone

The staple of human intelligence is the capability of acquiring knowledge in a continuous fashion. In stark contrast, Deep Networks forget catastrophically and, for this reason, the sub-field of Class-Incremental Continual Learning fosters methods that learn a sequence of tasks incrementally, blending sequentially-gained knowledge into a comprehensive prediction. This work aims at assessing and overcoming the pitfalls of our previous proposal Dark Experience Replay (DER), a simple and effective approach that combines rehearsal and Knowledge Distillation. Inspired by the way our minds constantly rewrite past recollections and set expectations for the future, we endow our model with the abilities to i) revise its replay memory to welcome novel information regarding past data ii) pave the way for learning yet unseen classes. We show that the application of these strategies leads to remarkable improvements; indeed, the resulting method – termed eXtended-DER (X-DER) – outperforms the state of the art on both standard benchmarks (such as CIFAR-100 and miniImageNet) and a novel one here introduced. To gain a better understanding, we further provide extensive ablation studies that corroborate and extend the findings of our previous research (e.g. the value of Knowledge Distillation and flatter minima in continual learning setups). We make our results fully reproducible; the codebase is available at

2022 - Continual semi-supervised learning through contrastive interpolation consistency [Articolo su rivista]
Boschini, Matteo; Buzzega, Pietro; Bonicelli, Lorenzo; Porrello, Angelo; Calderara, Simone

Continual Learning (CL) investigates how to train Deep Networks on a stream of tasks without incurring forgetting. CL settings proposed in literature assume that every incoming example is paired with ground-truth annotations. However, this clashes with many real-world applications: gathering labeled data, which is in itself tedious and expensive, becomes infeasible when data flow as a stream. This work explores Continual Semi-Supervised Learning (CSSL): here, only a small fraction of labeled input examples are shown to the learner. We assess how current CL methods (e.g.: EWC, LwF, iCaRL, ER, GDumb, DER) perform in this novel and challenging scenario, where overfitting entangles forgetting. Subsequently, we design a novel CSSL method that exploits metric learning and consistency regularization to leverage unlabeled examples while learning. We show that our proposal exhibits higher resilience to diminishing supervision and, even more surprisingly, relying only on supervision suffices to outperform SOTA methods trained under full supervision.

2022 - Effects of Auxiliary Knowledge on Continual Learning [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Bellitto, Giovanni; Pennisi, Matteo; Palazzo, Simone; Bonicelli, Lorenzo; Boschini, Matteo; Calderara, Simone; Spampinato, Concetto

In Continual Learning (CL), a neural network is trained on a stream of data whose distribution changes over time. In this context, the main problem is how to learn new information without forgetting old knowledge (i.e., Catastrophic Forgetting). Most existing CL approaches focus on finding solutions to preserve acquired knowledge, so working on the past of the model. However, we argue that as the model has to continually learn new tasks, it is also important to put focus on the present knowledge that could improve following tasks learning. In this paper we propose a new, simple, CL algorithm that focuses on solving the current task in a way that might facilitate the learning of the next ones. More specifically, our approach combines the main data stream with a secondary, diverse and uncorrelated stream, from which the network can draw auxiliary knowledge. This helps the model from different perspectives, since auxiliary data may contain useful features for the current and the next tasks and incoming task classes can be mapped onto auxiliary classes. Furthermore, the addition of data to the current task is implicitly making the classifier more robust as we are forcing the extraction of more discriminative features. Our method can outperform existing state-of-the-art models on the most common CL Image Classification benchmarks.

2022 - On the Effectiveness of Lipschitz-Driven Rehearsal in Continual Learning [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Bonicelli, Lorenzo; Boschini, Matteo; Porrello, Angelo; Spampinato, Concetto; Calderara, Simone

Rehearsal approaches enjoy immense popularity with Continual Learning (CL) practitioners. These methods collect samples from previously encountered data distributions in a small memory buffer; subsequently, they repeatedly optimize on the latter to prevent catastrophic forgetting. This work draws attention to a hidden pitfall of this widespread practice: repeated optimization on a small pool of data inevitably leads to tight and unstable decision boundaries, which are a major hindrance to generalization. To address this issue, we propose Lipschitz-DrivEn Rehearsal (LiDER), a surrogate objective that induces smoothness in the backbone network by constraining its layer-wise Lipschitz constants w.r.t. replay examples. By means of extensive experiments, we show that applying LiDER delivers a stable performance gain to several state-of-the-art rehearsal CL methods across multiple datasets, both in the presence and absence of pre-training. Through additional ablative experiments, we highlight peculiar aspects of buffer overfitting in CL and better characterize the effect produced by LiDER. Code is available at

2022 - Transfer without Forgetting [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Boschini, Matteo; Bonicelli, Lorenzo; Porrello, Angelo; Bellitto, Giovanni; Pennisi, Matteo; Palazzo, Simone; Spampinato, Concetto; Calderara, Simone

This work investigates the entanglement between Continual Learning (CL) and Transfer Learning (TL). In particular, we shed light on the widespread application of network pretraining, highlighting that it is itself subject to catastrophic forgetting. Unfortunately, this issue leads to the under-exploitation of knowledge transfer during later tasks. On this ground, we propose Transfer without Forgetting (TwF), a hybrid Continual Transfer Learning approach building upon a fixed pretrained sibling network, which continuously propagates the knowledge inherent in the source domain through a layer-wise loss term. Our experiments indicate that TwF steadily outperforms other CL methods across a variety of settings, averaging a 4.81% gain in Class-Incremental accuracy over a variety of datasets and different buffer sizes.

2020 - Dark Experience for General Continual Learning: a Strong, Simple Baseline [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Buzzega, Pietro; Boschini, Matteo; Porrello, Angelo; Abati, Davide; Calderara, Simone

Continual Learning has inspired a plethora of approaches and evaluation settings; however, the majority of them overlooks the properties of a practical scenario, where the data stream cannot be shaped as a sequence of tasks and offline training is not viable. We work towards General Continual Learning (GCL), where task boundaries blur and the domain and class distributions shift either gradually or suddenly. We address it through mixing rehearsal with knowledge distillation and regularization; our simple baseline, Dark Experience Replay, matches the network's logits sampled throughout the optimization trajectory, thus promoting consistency with its past. By conducting an extensive analysis on both standard benchmarks and a novel GCL evaluation setting (MNIST-360), we show that such a seemingly simple baseline outperforms consolidated approaches and leverages limited resources. We further explore the generalization capabilities of our objective, showing its regularization being beneficial beyond mere performance.

2020 - Rethinking Experience Replay: a Bag of Tricks for Continual Learning [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Buzzega, Pietro; Boschini, Matteo; Porrello, Angelo; Calderara, Simone

In Continual Learning, a Neural Network is trained on a stream of data whose distribution shifts over time. Under these assumptions, it is especially challenging to improve on classes appearing later in the stream while remaining accurate on previous ones. This is due to the infamous problem of catastrophic forgetting, which causes a quick performance degradation when the classifier focuses on learning new categories. Recent literature proposed various approaches to tackle this issue, often resorting to very sophisticated techniques. In this work, we show that naïve rehearsal can be patched to achieve similar performance. We point out some shortcomings that restrain Experience Replay (ER) and propose five tricks to mitigate them. Experiments show that ER, thus enhanced, displays an accuracy gain of 51.2 and 26.9 percentage points on the CIFAR-10 and CIFAR-100 datasets respectively (memory buffer size 1000). As a result, it surpasses current state-of-the-art rehearsal-based methods.