FedGCN: Convergence-Communication Tradeoffs in Federated Training of Graph Convolutional Networks

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

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Yuhang Yao, Weizhao Jin, Srivatsan Ravi, Carlee Joe-Wong


Methods for training models on graphs distributed across multiple clients have recently grown in popularity, due to the size of these graphs as well as regulations on keeping data where it is generated. However, the cross-client edges naturally exist among clients. Thus, distributed methods for training a model on a single graph incur either significant communication overhead between clients or a loss of available information to the training. We introduce the Federated Graph Convolutional Network (FedGCN) algorithm, which uses federated learning to train GCN models for semi-supervised node classification with fast convergence and little communication. Compared to prior methods that require extra communication among clients at each training round, FedGCN clients only communicate with the central server in one pre-training step, greatly reducing communication costs and allowing the use of homomorphic encryption to further enhance privacy. We theoretically analyze the tradeoff between FedGCN's convergence rate and communication cost under different data distributions. Experimental results show that our FedGCN algorithm achieves better model accuracy with 51.7\% faster convergence on average and at least 100$\times$ less communication compared to prior work.