Achieving Personalized Federated Learning with Sparse Local Models

27 Jan 2022  ·  Tiansheng Huang, Shiwei Liu, Li Shen, Fengxiang He, Weiwei Lin, DaCheng Tao ·

Federated learning (FL) is vulnerable to heterogeneously distributed data, since a common global model in FL may not adapt to the heterogeneous data distribution of each user. To counter this issue, personalized FL (PFL) was proposed to produce dedicated local models for each individual user. However, PFL is far from its maturity, because existing PFL solutions either demonstrate unsatisfactory generalization towards different model architectures or cost enormous extra computation and memory. In this work, we propose federated learning with personalized sparse mask (FedSpa), a novel PFL scheme that employs personalized sparse masks to customize sparse local models on the edge. Instead of training an intact (or dense) PFL model, FedSpa only maintains a fixed number of active parameters throughout training (aka sparse-to-sparse training), which enables users' models to achieve personalization with cheap communication, computation, and memory cost. We theoretically show that the iterates obtained by FedSpa converge to the local minimizer of the formulated SPFL problem at rate of $\mathcal{O}(\frac{1}{\sqrt{T}})$. Comprehensive experiments demonstrate that FedSpa significantly saves communication and computation costs, while simultaneously achieves higher model accuracy and faster convergence speed against several state-of-the-art PFL methods.

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