Evolving Standardization for Continual Domain Generalization over Temporal Drift

Mixue Xie · Shuang Li · Longhui Yuan · Chi Liu · Zehui Dai

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1011
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Tue 12 Dec 3:15 p.m. PST — 5:15 p.m. PST


The capability of generalizing to out-of-distribution data is crucial for the deployment of machine learning models in the real world. Existing domain generalization (DG) mainly embarks on offline and discrete scenarios, where multiple source domains are simultaneously accessible and the distribution shift among domains is abrupt and violent. Nevertheless, such setting may not be universally applicable to all real-world applications, as there are cases where the data distribution gradually changes over time due to various factors, e.g., the process of aging. Additionally, as the domain constantly evolves, new domains will continually emerge. Re-training and updating models with both new and previous domains using existing DG methods can be resource-intensive and inefficient. Therefore, in this paper, we present a problem formulation for Continual Domain Generalization over Temporal Drift (CDGTD). CDGTD addresses the challenge of gradually shifting data distributions over time, where domains arrive sequentially and models can only access the data of the current domain. The goal is to generalize to unseen domains that are not too far into the future. To this end, we propose an Evolving Standardization (EvoS) method, which characterizes the evolving pattern of feature distribution and mitigates the distribution shift by standardizing features with generated statistics of corresponding domain. Specifically, inspired by the powerful ability of transformers to model sequence relations, we design a multi-scale attention module (MSAM) to learn the evolving pattern under sliding time windows of different lengths. MSAM can generate statistics of current domain based on the statistics of previous domains and the learned evolving pattern. Experiments on multiple real-world datasets including images and texts validate the efficacy of our EvoS.

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