Direction Concentration Learning: Enhancing Congruency in Machine Learning

Yan Luo, Yongkang Wong, Mohan Kankanhalli, Qi Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


One of the well-known challenges in computer vision tasks is the visual diversity of images, which could result in an agreement or disagreement between the learned knowledge and the visual content exhibited by the current observation. In this work, we first define such an agreement in a concepts learning process as congruency. Formally, given a particular task and sufficiently large dataset, the congruency issue occurs in the learning process whereby the task-specific semantics in the training data are highly varying. We propose a Direction Concentration Learning (DCL) method to improve congruency in the learning process, where enhancing congruency influences the convergence path to be less circuitous. The experimental results show that the proposed DCL method generalizes to state-of-the-art models and optimizers, as well as improves the performances of saliency prediction task, continual learning task, and classification task. Moreover, it helps mitigate the catastrophic forgetting problem in the continual learning task. The code is publicly available at

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8946700
Pages (from-to)1928-1946
Number of pages19
JournalIEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 31 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the US National Science Foundation under Grants 1908711, 1849107, in part by the University of Minnesota Department of Computer Science and Engineering Start-up Fund (QZ), and in part by the National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore under its Strategic Capability Research Centres Funding Initiative. The computational work for this article was partially performed on resources of the National Supercomputing Centre, Singapore (

Publisher Copyright:
© 1979-2012 IEEE.


  • Optimization
  • accumulated gradient
  • computer vision
  • congruency
  • machine learning


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