Parameterized Knowledge Transfer for Personalized Federated Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2021)

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Jie Zhang, Song Guo, Xiaosong Ma, Haozhao Wang, Wenchao Xu, Feijie Wu


In recent years, personalized federated learning (pFL) has attracted increasing attention for its potential in dealing with statistical heterogeneity among clients. However, the state-of-the-art pFL methods rely on model parameters aggregation at the server side, which require all models to have the same structure and size, and thus limits the application for more heterogeneous scenarios. To deal with such model constraints, we exploit the potentials of heterogeneous model settings and propose a novel training framework to employ personalized models for different clients. Specifically, we formulate the aggregation procedure in original pFL into a personalized group knowledge transfer training algorithm, namely, KT-pFL, which enables each client to maintain a personalized soft prediction at the server side to guide the others' local training. KT-pFL updates the personalized soft prediction of each client by a linear combination of all local soft predictions using a knowledge coefficient matrix, which can adaptively reinforce the collaboration among clients who own similar data distribution. Furthermore, to quantify the contributions of each client to others' personalized training, the knowledge coefficient matrix is parameterized so that it can be trained simultaneously with the models. The knowledge coefficient matrix and the model parameters are alternatively updated in each round following the gradient descent way. Extensive experiments on various datasets (EMNIST, Fashion_MNIST, CIFAR-10) are conducted under different settings (heterogeneous models and data distributions). It is demonstrated that the proposed framework is the first federated learning paradigm that realizes personalized model training via parameterized group knowledge transfer while achieving significant performance gain comparing with state-of-the-art algorithms.