A Self-Organizing Clustering System for Unsupervised Distribution Shift Detection

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Modeling non-stationary data is a challenging problem in the field of continual learning, and data distribution shifts may result in negative consequences on the performance of a machine learning model. Classic learning tools are often vulnerable to perturbations of the input covariates, and are sensitive to outliers and noise, and some tools are based on rigid algebraic assumptions. Distribution shifts are frequently occurring due to changes in raw materials for production, seasonality, a different user base, or even adversarial attacks. Therefore, there is a need for more effective distribution shift detection techniques.
In this work, we propose a continual learning framework for monitoring and detecting distribution changes. We explore the problem in a latent space generated by a bio-inspired self-organizing clustering and statistical aspects of the latent space. In particular, we investigate the projections made by two topology-preserving maps: the Self-Organizing Map and the Scale Invariant Map. Our method can be applied in both a supervised and an unsupervised context. We construct the assessment of changes in the data distribution as a comparison of Gaussian signals, making the proposed method fast and robust. We compare it to other unsupervised techniques, specifically Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Kernel-PCA. Our comparison involves conducting experiments using sequences of images (based on MNIST and injected shifts with adversarial samples), chemical sensor measurements, and the environmental variable related to ozone levels. The empirical study reveals the potential of the proposed approach.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2024 IEEE International Joint Conference of Neural Networks
Number of pages14
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024
Event2024 IEEE International Joint Conference on Neural Networks - Yokohama, Japan
Duration: 30 Jun 20245 Jul 2024


Conference2024 IEEE International Joint Conference on Neural Networks


  • Distribution shift
  • Continual Learning
  • Topology-preserving methods
  • Self Organizing Maps
  • Learning Representation
  • Dimensionality reduction


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