Lifelong Neural Predictive Coding: Learning Cumulatively Online without Forgetting

Alexander G. Ororbia, C. Lee Giles, Ankur Mali, Daniel Kifer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


In lifelong learning systems based on artificial neural networks, one of the biggest obstacles is the inability to retain old knowledge as new information is encountered. This phenomenon is known as catastrophic forgetting. In this paper, we propose a new kind of connectionist architecture, the Sequential Neural Coding Network, that is robust to forgetting when learning from streams of data points and, unlike networks of today, does not learn via the popular back-propagation of errors. Grounded in the neurocognitive theory of predictive coding, our model adapts its synapses in a biologically-plausible fashion while another neural system learns to direct and control this cortex-like structure, mimicking some of the task-executive control functionality of the basal ganglia. In our experiments, we demonstrate that our self-organizing system experiences significantly less forgetting compared to standard neural models, outperforming a swath of previously proposed methods, including rehearsal/data buffer-based methods, on both standard (SplitMNIST, Split Fashion MNIST, etc.) and custom benchmarks even though it is trained in a stream-like fashion. Our work offers evidence that emulating mechanisms in real neuronal systems, e.g., local learning, lateral competition, can yield new directions and possibilities for tackling the grand challenge of lifelong machine learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 - 36th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2022
EditorsS. Koyejo, S. Mohamed, A. Agarwal, D. Belgrave, K. Cho, A. Oh
PublisherNeural information processing systems foundation
ISBN (Electronic)9781713871088
StatePublished - 2022
Event36th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2022 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Nov 28 2022Dec 9 2022

Publication series

NameAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
ISSN (Print)1049-5258


Conference36th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing

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