Continual Learning on the Edge with TensorFlow Lite

by   Giorgos Demosthenous, et al.

Deploying sophisticated deep learning models on embedded devices with the purpose of solving real-world problems is a struggle using today's technology. Privacy and data limitations, network connection issues, and the need for fast model adaptation are some of the challenges that constitute today's approaches unfit for many applications on the edge and make real-time on-device training a necessity. Google is currently working on tackling these challenges by embedding an experimental transfer learning API to their TensorFlow Lite, machine learning library. In this paper, we show that although transfer learning is a good first step for on-device model training, it suffers from catastrophic forgetting when faced with more realistic scenarios. We present this issue by testing a simple transfer learning model on the CORe50 benchmark as well as by demonstrating its limitations directly on an Android application we developed. In addition, we expand the TensorFlow Lite library to include continual learning capabilities, by integrating a simple replay approach into the head of the current transfer learning model. We test our continual learning model on the CORe50 benchmark to show that it tackles catastrophic forgetting, and we demonstrate its ability to continually learn, even under non-ideal conditions, using the application we developed. Finally, we open-source the code of our Android application to enable developers to integrate continual learning to their own smartphone applications, as well as to facilitate further development of continual learning functionality into the TensorFlow Lite environment.


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