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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  2. Federated Learning (FL) under distributed concept drift is a largely unexplored area. Although concept drift is itself a well-studied phenomenon, it poses particular challenges for FL, because drifts arise staggered in time and space (across clients). Our work is the first to explicitly study data heterogeneity in both dimensions. We first demonstrate that prior solutions to drift adaptation, with their single global model, are ill-suited to staggered drifts, necessitating multiple-model solutions. We identify the problem of drift adaptation as a time-varying clustering problem, and we propose two new clustering algorithms for reacting to drifts based on local drift detection and hierarchical clustering. Empirical evaluation shows that our solutions achieve significantly higher accuracy than existing baselines, and are comparable to an idealized algorithm with oracle knowledge of the ground-truth clustering of clients to concepts at each time step. 
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  3. Federated learning (FL) enables edge-devices to collaboratively learn a model without disclosing their private data to a central aggregating server. Most existing FL algorithms require models of identical architecture to be deployed across the clients and server, making it infeasible to train large models due to clients' limited system resources. In this work, we propose a novel ensemble knowledge transfer method named Fed-ET in which small models (different in architecture) are trained on clients, and used to train a larger model at the server. Unlike in conventional ensemble learning, in FL the ensemble can be trained on clients' highly heterogeneous data. Cognizant of this property, Fed-ET uses a weighted consensus distillation scheme with diversity regularization that efficiently extracts reliable consensus from the ensemble while improving generalization by exploiting the diversity within the ensemble. We show the generalization bound for the ensemble of weighted models trained on heterogeneous datasets that supports the intuition of Fed-ET. Our experiments on image and language tasks show that Fed-ET significantly outperforms other state-of-the-art FL algorithms with fewer communicated parameters, and is also robust against high data-heterogeneity. 
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  4. Federated learning is a distributed optimization paradigm that enables a large number of resource-limited client nodes to cooperatively train a model without data sharing. Previous works analyzed the convergence of federated learning by accounting for data heterogeneity, communication/computation limitations, and partial client participation. However, most assume unbiased client participation, where clients are selected such that the aggregated model update is unbiased. In our work, we present the convergence analysis of federated learning with biased client selection and quantify how the bias affects convergence speed. We show that biasing client selection towards clients with higher local loss yields faster error convergence. From this insight, we propose Power-of-Choice, a communication- and computation-efficient client selection framework that flexibly spans the trade-off between convergence speed and solution bias. Extensive experiments demonstrate that Power-of-Choice can converge up to 3 times faster and give 10% higher test accuracy than the baseline random selection. 
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  5. Tuning hyperparameters is a crucial but arduous part of the machine learning pipeline. Hyperparameter optimization is even more challenging in federated learning, where models are learned over a distributed network of heterogeneous devices; here, the need to keep data on device and perform local training makes it difficult to efficiently train and evaluate configurations. In this work, we investigate the problem of federated hyperparameter tuning. We first identify key challenges and show how standard approaches may be adapted to form baselines for the federated setting. Then, by making a novel connection to the neural architecture search technique of weight-sharing, we introduce a new method, FedEx, to accelerate federated hyperparameter tuning that is applicable to widely-used federated optimization methods such as FedAvg and recent variants. Theoretically, we show that a FedEx variant correctly tunes the on-device learning rate in the setting of online convex optimization across devices. Empirically, we show that FedEx can outperform natural baselines for federated hyperparameter tuning by several percentage points on the Shakespeare, FEMNIST, and CIFAR-10 benchmarks, obtaining higher accuracy using the same training budget. 
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