Meta-learning, the notion of learning to learn, enables learning systems to quickly and flexibly solve new tasks. This usually involves defining a set of outer-loop meta-parameters that are then used to update a set of inner-loop parameters. Most meta-learning approaches use complicated and computationally expensive bi-level optimisation schemes to update these meta-parameters. Ideally, systems should perform multiple orders of meta-learning, i.e. to learn to learn to learn and so on, to accelerate their own learning. Unfortunately, standard meta-learning techniques are often inappropriate for these higher-order meta-parameters because the meta-optimisation procedure becomes too complicated or unstable. Inspired by the higher-order meta-learning we observe in real-world evolution, we show that using simple population-based evolution implicitly optimises for arbitrarily-high order meta-parameters. First, we theoretically prove and empirically show that population-based evolution implicitly optimises meta-parameters of arbitrarily-high order in a simple setting. We then introduce a minimal self-referential param-eterisation, which in principle enables arbitrary-order meta-learning. Finally, we show that higher-order meta-learning improves performance on time series forecasting tasks.

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