2nd edition

The First Book
dedicated to
the topic


2nd edition


1st edition

Lifelong Machine Learning

Zhiyuan Chen and Bing Liu

Second Edition - Table of Contents

Synthesis Lectures on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Morgan & Claypool Publishers, August, 2018

Lifelong Machine Learning or Lifelong Learning (LL) is an advanced machine learning (ML) paradigm that learns continuously, accumulates the knowledge learned in the past, and uses/adapts it to help future learning and problem solving. In the process, the learner becomes more and more knowledgeable and better and better at learning. This continuous learning ability is one of the hallmarks of human intelligence. However, the current dominant ML paradigm learns in isolation: given a training dataset, it runs a ML algorithm only on the dataset to produce a model. It makes no attempt to retain the learned knowledge and use it in subsequent learning. Although this isolated ML paradigm, primarily based on datadriven optimization, has been very successful, it requires a large number of training examples, and is only suitable for well-defined and narrow tasks in closed environments. In contrast, we humans learn effectively with a few examples and in the dynamic and open world because our learning is also very much knowledge-driven: the knowledge learned in the past helps us learn new things with little data or effort and adapt to new/unseen situations. LL aims to achieve this capability. Applications such as chatbots, self-driving cars, or any AI systems that interact with humans/physical environments are calling for this capability because they need to cope with their dynamic and open environments which leave them with no choice but to continuously learn new things in order to function well. Without the LL capability, an AI system cannot be considered truly intelligent.

Main changes to the first edition

Teaching and Learning: This book is suitable for students, researchers, and practitioners interested in machine learning, data mining, and natural language processing. Lecturers can use the book in class. Some resources can be found in my Lifelong Learning research page.

Get the second edition

207 Pages, August 2018.
Paperback: ISBN 9781681733029
eBook: ISBN 9781681733036

Get the first edition

145 Pages, November 2016.
Paperback: ISBN 9781627055017
eBook: ISBN 9781627058773

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Related Learning Paradigms
  3. Lifelong Supervised Learning
  4. Continual Learning and Catastrophic Forgetting
  5. Open-world Learning
  6. Lifelong Topic Modeling
  7. Lifelong Information Extraction
  8. Continuous Knowledge Learning in Chatbots
  9. Lifelong Reinforcement Learning
  10. Conclusion and Future Directions

Lecture Slides

My lifelong machine learning research page

Errata List for the first edition

  • Page 48 - Equation 3.26: F_{+,i} = P(+ | d_i) - P(- | d_i), and four lines above it: P(- | d_i) = 1.
  • Please send me your comments and errata

First Draft: by Bing Liu on November 6, 2016.