Few-Round Learning for Federated Learning

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

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Younghyun Park, Dong-Jun Han, Do-Yeon Kim, Jun Seo, Jaekyun Moon


In federated learning (FL), a number of distributed clients targeting the same task collaborate to train a single global model without sharing their data. The learning process typically starts from a randomly initialized or some pretrained model. In this paper, we aim at designing an initial model based on which an arbitrary group of clients can obtain a global model for its own purpose, within only a few rounds of FL. The key challenge here is that the downstream tasks for which the pretrained model will be used are generally unknown when the initial model is prepared. Our idea is to take a meta-learning approach to construct the initial model so that any group with a possibly unseen task can obtain a high-accuracy global model within only R rounds of FL. Our meta-learning itself could be done via federated learning among willing participants and is based on an episodic arrangement to mimic the R rounds of FL followed by inference in each episode. Extensive experimental results show that our method generalizes well for arbitrary groups of clients and provides large performance improvements given the same overall communication/computation resources, compared to other baselines relying on known pretraining methods.