Google Research

Continual Learning for Text Classification with Information Disentanglement Based Regularization

  • Yufan Huang
  • Yanzhe Zhang
  • Jiaao Chen
  • Xuezhi Wang
  • Diyi Yang
NAACL 2021

Abstract

Continual learning has become increasingly important as it enables NLP models to constantly learn and gain knowledge over time. Previous continual learning methods are mainly designed to preserve knowledge from previous tasks, without much emphasis on how to well generalize models to new tasks. In this work, we propose an information disentanglement based regularization method for continual learning on text classification. Our proposed method first disentangles text hidden spaces into representations that are generic to all tasks and representations specific to each individual task, and further regularizes these representations differently to better constrain the knowledge required to generalize. We also introduce two simple auxiliary tasks: next sentence prediction and task-id prediction, for learning better generic and specific representation spaces. Experiments conducted on large-scale benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness of our method in continual text classification tasks with various sequences and lengths over state-of-the-art baselines. We have publicly released our code at https://github.com/GT-SALT/IDBR.

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