10,16,2021

News Blog Paper China
IPLS : A Framework for Decentralized Federated Learning2021-01-06   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
The proliferation of resourceful mobile devices that store rich, multidimensional and privacy-sensitive user data motivate the design of federated learning (FL), a machine-learning (ML) paradigm that enables mobile devices to produce an ML model without sharing their data. However, the majority of the existing FL frameworks rely on centralized entities. In this work, we introduce IPLS, a fully decentralized federated learning framework that is partially based on the interplanetary file system (IPFS). By using IPLS and connecting into the corresponding private IPFS network, any party can initiate the training process of an ML model or join an ongoing training process that has already been started by another party. IPLS scales with the number of participants, is robust against intermittent connectivity and dynamic participant departures/arrivals, requires minimal resources, and guarantees that the accuracy of the trained model quickly converges to that of a centralized FL framework with an accuracy drop of less than one per thousand.
 
Private Federated Learning with Domain Adaptation2019-12-13   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Federated Learning (FL) is a distributed machine learning (ML) paradigm that enables multiple parties to jointly re-train a shared model without sharing their data with any other parties, offering advantages in both scale and privacy. We propose a framework to augment this collaborative model-building with per-user domain adaptation. We show that this technique improves model accuracy for all users, using both real and synthetic data, and that this improvement is much more pronounced when differential privacy bounds are imposed on the FL model.
 
Mitigating Bias in Federated Learning2020-12-04   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
As methods to create discrimination-aware models develop, they focus on centralized ML, leaving federated learning (FL) unexplored. FL is a rising approach for collaborative ML, in which an aggregator orchestrates multiple parties to train a global model without sharing their training data. In this paper, we discuss causes of bias in FL and propose three pre-processing and in-processing methods to mitigate bias, without compromising data privacy, a key FL requirement. As data heterogeneity among parties is one of the challenging characteristics of FL, we conduct experiments over several data distributions to analyze their effects on model performance, fairness metrics, and bias learning patterns. We conduct a comprehensive analysis of our proposed techniques, the results demonstrating that these methods are effective even when parties have skewed data distributions or as little as 20% of parties employ the methods.
 
FedV: Privacy-Preserving Federated Learning over Vertically Partitioned Data2021-03-05   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Federated learning (FL) has been proposed to allow collaborative training of machine learning (ML) models among multiple parties where each party can keep its data private. In this paradigm, only model updates, such as model weights or gradients, are shared. Many existing approaches have focused on horizontal FL, where each party has the entire feature set and labels in the training data set. However, many real scenarios follow a vertically-partitioned FL setup, where a complete feature set is formed only when all the datasets from the parties are combined, and the labels are only available to a single party. Privacy-preserving vertical FL is challenging because complete sets of labels and features are not owned by one entity. Existing approaches for vertical FL require multiple peer-to-peer communications among parties, leading to lengthy training times, and are restricted to (approximated) linear models and just two parties. To close this gap, we propose FedV, a framework for secure gradient computation in vertical settings for several widely used ML models such as linear models, logistic regression, and support vector machines. FedV removes the need for peer-to-peer communication among parties by using functional encryption schemes; this allows FedV to achieve faster training times. It also works for larger and changing sets of parties. We empirically demonstrate the applicability for multiple types of ML models and show a reduction of 10%-70% of training time and 80% to 90% in data transfer with respect to the state-of-the-art approaches.
 
Salvaging Federated Learning by Local Adaptation2020-02-11   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Federated learning (FL) is a heavily promoted approach for training ML models on sensitive data, e.g., text typed by users on their smartphones. FL is expressly designed for training on data that are unbalanced and non-iid across the participants. To ensure privacy and integrity of the federated model, latest FL approaches use differential privacy or robust aggregation to limit the influence of "outlier" participants. First, we show that on standard tasks such as next-word prediction, many participants gain no benefit from FL because the federated model is less accurate on their data than the models they can train locally on their own. Second, we show that differential privacy and robust aggregation make this problem worse by further destroying the accuracy of the federated model for many participants. Then, we evaluate three techniques for local adaptation of federated models: fine-tuning, multi-task learning, and knowledge distillation. We analyze where each technique is applicable and demonstrate that all participants benefit from local adaptation. Participants whose local models are poor obtain big accuracy improvements over conventional FL. Participants whose local models are better than the federated model and who have no incentive to participate in FL today improve less, but sufficiently to make the adapted federated model better than their local models.
 
OpenFL: An open-source framework for Federated Learning2021-05-13   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Federated learning (FL) is a computational paradigm that enables organizations to collaborate on machine learning (ML) projects without sharing sensitive data, such as, patient records, financial data, or classified secrets. Open Federated Learning (OpenFL https://github.com/intel/openfl) is an open-source framework for training ML algorithms using the data-private collaborative learning paradigm of FL. OpenFL works with training pipelines built with both TensorFlow and PyTorch, and can be easily extended to other ML and deep learning frameworks. Here, we summarize the motivation and development characteristics of OpenFL, with the intention of facilitating its application to existing ML model training in a production environment. Finally, we describe the first use of the OpenFL framework to train consensus ML models in a consortium of international healthcare organizations, as well as how it facilitates the first computational competition on FL.
 
Federated Learning: Opportunities and Challenges2021-01-13   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Federated Learning (FL) is a concept first introduced by Google in 2016, in which multiple devices collaboratively learn a machine learning model without sharing their private data under the supervision of a central server. This offers ample opportunities in critical domains such as healthcare, finance etc, where it is risky to share private user information to other organisations or devices. While FL appears to be a promising Machine Learning (ML) technique to keep the local data private, it is also vulnerable to attacks like other ML models. Given the growing interest in the FL domain, this report discusses the opportunities and challenges in federated learning.
 
On-device Federated Learning with Flower2021-04-07   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Federated Learning (FL) allows edge devices to collaboratively learn a shared prediction model while keeping their training data on the device, thereby decoupling the ability to do machine learning from the need to store data in the cloud. Despite the algorithmic advancements in FL, the support for on-device training of FL algorithms on edge devices remains poor. In this paper, we present an exploration of on-device FL on various smartphones and embedded devices using the Flower framework. We also evaluate the system costs of on-device FL and discuss how this quantification could be used to design more efficient FL algorithms.
 
Industrial Federated Learning -- Requirements and System Design2020-05-14   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Federated Learning (FL) is a very promising approach for improving decentralized Machine Learning (ML) models by exchanging knowledge between participating clients without revealing private data. Nevertheless, FL is still not tailored to the industrial context as strong data similarity is assumed for all FL tasks. This is rarely the case in industrial machine data with variations in machine type, operational- and environmental conditions. Therefore, we introduce an Industrial Federated Learning (IFL) system supporting knowledge exchange in continuously evaluated and updated FL cohorts of learning tasks with sufficient data similarity. This enables optimal collaboration of business partners in common ML problems, prevents negative knowledge transfer, and ensures resource optimization of involved edge devices.
 
Privacy-Preserving Self-Taught Federated Learning for Heterogeneous Data2021-02-11   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Many application scenarios call for training a machine learning model among multiple participants. Federated learning (FL) was proposed to enable joint training of a deep learning model using the local data in each party without revealing the data to others. Among various types of FL methods, vertical FL is a category to handle data sources with the same ID space and different feature spaces. However, existing vertical FL methods suffer from limitations such as restrictive neural network structure, slow training speed, and often lack the ability to take advantage of data with unmatched IDs. In this work, we propose an FL method called self-taught federated learning to address the aforementioned issues, which uses unsupervised feature extraction techniques for distributed supervised deep learning tasks. In this method, only latent variables are transmitted to other parties for model training, while privacy is preserved by storing the data and parameters of activations, weights, and biases locally. Extensive experiments are performed to evaluate and demonstrate the validity and efficiency of the proposed method.
 
Oort: Informed Participant Selection for Scalable Federated Learning2020-10-12   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Federated Learning (FL) is an emerging direction in distributed machine learning (ML) that enables in-situ model training and testing on edge data. Despite having the same end goals as traditional ML, FL executions differ significantly in scale, spanning thousands to millions of participating devices. As a result, data characteristics and device capabilities vary widely across clients. Yet, existing efforts randomly select FL participants, which leads to poor model and system efficiency. In this paper, we propose Kuiper to improve the performance of federated training and testing with guided participant selection. With an aim to improve time-to-accuracy performance in model training, Kuiper prioritizes the use of those clients who have both data that offers the greatest utility in improving model accuracy and the capability to run training quickly. To enable FL developers to interpret their results in model testing, Kuiper enforces their requirements on the distribution of participant data while improving the duration of federated testing by cherry-picking clients. Our evaluation shows that, compared to existing participant selection mechanisms, Kuiper improves time-to-accuracy performance by 1.2x-14.1x and final model accuracy by 1.3%-9.8%, while efficiently enforcing developer requirements on data distributions at the scale of millions of clients.
 
Evaluating the Communication Efficiency in Federated Learning Algorithms2020-04-06   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
In the era of advanced technologies, mobile devices are equipped with computing and sensing capabilities that gather excessive amounts of data. These amounts of data are suitable for training different learning models. Cooperated with advancements in Deep Learning (DL), these learning models empower numerous useful applications, e.g., image processing, speech recognition, healthcare, vehicular network and many more. Traditionally, Machine Learning (ML) approaches require data to be centralised in cloud-based data-centres. However, this data is often large in quantity and privacy-sensitive which prevents logging into these data-centres for training the learning models. In turn, this results in critical issues of high latency and communication inefficiency. Recently, in light of new privacy legislations in many countries, the concept of Federated Learning (FL) has been introduced. In FL, mobile users are empowered to learn a global model by aggregating their local models, without sharing the privacy-sensitive data. Usually, these mobile users have slow network connections to the data-centre where the global model is maintained. Moreover, in a complex and large scale network, heterogeneous devices that have various energy constraints are involved. This raises the challenge of communication cost when implementing FL at large scale. To this end, in this research, we begin with the fundamentals of FL, and then, we highlight the recent FL algorithms and evaluate their communication efficiency with detailed comparisons. Furthermore, we propose a set of solutions to alleviate the existing FL problems both from communication perspective and privacy perspective.
 
Federated Learning for Resource-Constrained IoT Devices: Panoramas and State-of-the-art2020-02-24   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Nowadays, devices are equipped with advanced sensors with higher processing/computing capabilities. Further, widespread Internet availability enables communication among sensing devices. As a result, vast amounts of data are generated on edge devices to drive Internet-of-Things (IoT), crowdsourcing, and other emerging technologies. The collected extensive data can be pre-processed, scaled, classified, and finally, used for predicting future events using machine learning (ML) methods. In traditional ML approaches, data is sent to and processed in a central server, which encounters communication overhead, processing delay, privacy leakage, and security issues. To overcome these challenges, each client can be trained locally based on its available data and by learning from the global model. This decentralized learning structure is referred to as Federated Learning (FL). However, in large-scale networks, there may be clients with varying computational resource capabilities. This may lead to implementation and scalability challenges for FL techniques. In this paper, we first introduce some recently implemented real-life applications of FL. We then emphasize on the core challenges of implementing the FL algorithms from the perspective of resource limitations (e.g., memory, bandwidth, and energy budget) of client clients. We finally discuss open issues associated with FL and highlight future directions in the FL area concerning resource-constrained devices.
 
The FeatureCloud AI Store for Federated Learning in Biomedicine and Beyond2021-05-12   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have shown promising results in many areas and are driven by the increasing amount of available data. However, this data is often distributed across different institutions and cannot be shared due to privacy concerns. Privacy-preserving methods, such as Federated Learning (FL), allow for training ML models without sharing sensitive data, but their implementation is time-consuming and requires advanced programming skills. Here, we present the FeatureCloud AI Store for FL as an all-in-one platform for biomedical research and other applications. It removes large parts of this complexity for developers and end-users by providing an extensible AI Store with a collection of ready-to-use apps. We show that the federated apps produce similar results to centralized ML, scale well for a typical number of collaborators and can be combined with Secure Multiparty Computation (SMPC), thereby making FL algorithms safely and easily applicable in biomedical and clinical environments.
 
A Joint Learning and Communications Framework for Federated Learning over Wireless Networks2020-06-08   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
In this paper, the problem of training federated learning (FL) algorithms over a realistic wireless network is studied. In particular, in the considered model, wireless users execute an FL algorithm while training their local FL models using their own data and transmitting the trained local FL models to a base station (BS) that will generate a global FL model and send it back to the users. Since all training parameters are transmitted over wireless links, the quality of the training will be affected by wireless factors such as packet errors and the availability of wireless resources. Meanwhile, due to the limited wireless bandwidth, the BS must select an appropriate subset of users to execute the FL algorithm so as to build a global FL model accurately. This joint learning, wireless resource allocation, and user selection problem is formulated as an optimization problem whose goal is to minimize an FL loss function that captures the performance of the FL algorithm. To address this problem, a closed-form expression for the expected convergence rate of the FL algorithm is first derived to quantify the impact of wireless factors on FL. Then, based on the expected convergence rate of the FL algorithm, the optimal transmit power for each user is derived, under a given user selection and uplink resource block (RB) allocation scheme. Finally, the user selection and uplink RB allocation is optimized so as to minimize the FL loss function. Simulation results show that the proposed joint federated learning and communication framework can reduce the FL loss function value by up to 10% and 16%, respectively, compared to: 1) An optimal user selection algorithm with random resource allocation and 2) a standard FL algorithm with random user selection and resource allocation.
 
Robust Blockchained Federated Learning with Model Validation and Proof-of-Stake Inspired Consensus2021-01-09   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Federated learning (FL) is a promising distributed learning solution that only exchanges model parameters without revealing raw data. However, the centralized architecture of FL is vulnerable to the single point of failure. In addition, FL does not examine the legitimacy of local models, so even a small fraction of malicious devices can disrupt global training. To resolve these robustness issues of FL, in this paper, we propose a blockchain-based decentralized FL framework, termed VBFL, by exploiting two mechanisms in a blockchained architecture. First, we introduced a novel decentralized validation mechanism such that the legitimacy of local model updates is examined by individual validators. Second, we designed a dedicated proof-of-stake consensus mechanism where stake is more frequently rewarded to honest devices, which protects the legitimate local model updates by increasing their chances of dictating the blocks appended to the blockchain. Together, these solutions promote more federation within legitimate devices, enabling robust FL. Our emulation results of the MNIST classification corroborate that with 15% of malicious devices, VBFL achieves 87% accuracy, which is 7.4x higher than Vanilla FL.
 
Flower: A Friendly Federated Learning Research Framework2020-07-28   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Federated Learning (FL) has emerged as a promising technique for edge devices to collaboratively learn a shared prediction model, while keeping their training data on the device, thereby decoupling the ability to do machine learning from the need to store the data in the cloud. However, FL is difficult to implement and deploy in practice, considering the heterogeneity in mobile devices, e.g., different programming languages, frameworks, and hardware accelerators. Although there are a few frameworks available to simulate FL algorithms (e.g., TensorFlow Federated), they do not support implementing FL workloads on mobile devices. Furthermore, these frameworks are designed to simulate FL in a server environment and hence do not allow experimentation in distributed mobile settings for a large number of clients. In this paper, we present Flower (https://flower.dev/), a FL framework which is both agnostic towards heterogeneous client environments and also scales to a large number of clients, including mobile and embedded devices. Flower's abstractions let developers port existing mobile workloads with little overhead, regardless of the programming language or ML framework used, while also allowing researchers flexibility to experiment with novel approaches to advance the state-of-the-art. We describe the design goals and implementation considerations of Flower and show our experiences in evaluating the performance of FL across clients with heterogeneous computational and communication capabilities.
 
Federated Learning for Vehicular Networks2020-06-02   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Machine learning (ML) has already been adopted in vehicular networks for such applications as autonomous driving, road safety prediction and vehicular object detection, due to its model-free characteristic, allowing adaptive fast response. However, the training of the ML model brings significant complexity for the data transmission between the learning model in a cloud server and the edge devices in the vehicles. Federated learning (FL) framework has been recently introduced as an efficient tool with the goal of reducing this transmission overhead while also achieving privacy through the transmission of only the gradients of the learnable parameters rather than the whole dataset. In this article, we provide a comprehensive analysis of the usage of FL over ML in vehicular network applications to develop intelligent transportation systems. Based on the real image and lidar data collected from the vehicles, we illustrate the superior performance of FL over ML in terms of data transmission complexity for vehicular object detection application. Finally, we highlight major research issues and identify future research directions on system heterogeneity, data heterogeneity, efficient model training and reducing transmission complexity in FL based vehicular networks.
 
On the Impact of Device and Behavioral Heterogeneity in Federated Learning2021-02-15   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Federated learning (FL) is becoming a popular paradigm for collaborative learning over distributed, private datasets owned by non-trusting entities. FL has seen successful deployment in production environments, and it has been adopted in services such as virtual keyboards, auto-completion, item recommendation, and several IoT applications. However, FL comes with the challenge of performing training over largely heterogeneous datasets, devices, and networks that are out of the control of the centralized FL server. Motivated by this inherent setting, we make a first step towards characterizing the impact of device and behavioral heterogeneity on the trained model. We conduct an extensive empirical study spanning close to 1.5K unique configurations on five popular FL benchmarks. Our analysis shows that these sources of heterogeneity have a major impact on both model performance and fairness, thus sheds light on the importance of considering heterogeneity in FL system design.
 
Convergence Time Optimization for Federated Learning over Wireless Networks2020-01-21   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
In this paper, the convergence time of federated learning (FL), when deployed over a realistic wireless network, is studied. In particular, a wireless network is considered in which wireless users transmit their local FL models (trained using their locally collected data) to a base station (BS). The BS, acting as a central controller, generates a global FL model using the received local FL models and broadcasts it back to all users. Due to the limited number of resource blocks (RBs) in a wireless network, only a subset of users can be selected to transmit their local FL model parameters to the BS at each learning step. Moreover, since each user has unique training data samples, the BS prefers to include all local user FL models to generate a converged global FL model. Hence, the FL performance and convergence time will be significantly affected by the user selection scheme. Therefore, it is necessary to design an appropriate user selection scheme that enables users of higher importance to be selected more frequently. This joint learning, wireless resource allocation, and user selection problem is formulated as an optimization problem whose goal is to minimize the FL convergence time while optimizing the FL performance. To solve this problem, a probabilistic user selection scheme is proposed such that the BS is connected to the users whose local FL models have significant effects on its global FL model with high probabilities. Given the user selection policy, the uplink RB allocation can be determined. To further reduce the FL convergence time, artificial neural networks (ANNs) are used to estimate the local FL models of the users that are not allocated any RBs for local FL model transmission at each given learning step, which enables the BS to enhance its global FL model and improve the FL convergence speed and performance.