Collaboratively Learning Linear Models with Structured Missing Data

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Chen Cheng, Gary Cheng, John C. Duchi


We study the problem of collaboratively learning least squares estimates for $m$ agents. Each agent observes a different subset of the features---e.g., containing data collected from sensors of varying resolution. Our goal is to determine how to coordinate the agents in order to produce the best estimator for each agent. We propose a distributed, semi-supervised algorithm Collab, consisting of three steps: local training, aggregation, and distribution. Our procedure does not require communicating the labeled data, making it communication efficient and useful in settings where the labeled data is inaccessible. Despite this handicap, our procedure is nearly asymptotically, local-minimax optimal---even among estimators allowed to communicate the labeled data such as imputation methods. We test our method on US Census data. We also discuss generalizations of our method to non-Gaussian feature settings, non-linear settings, and Federated Learning.