An Improved Algorithm for Clustered Federated Learning

20 Oct 2022  ·  Harshvardhan, Avishek Ghosh, Arya Mazumdar ·

In this paper, we address the dichotomy between heterogeneous models and simultaneous training in Federated Learning (FL) via a clustering framework. We define a new clustering model for FL based on the (optimal) local models of the users: two users belong to the same cluster if their local models are close; otherwise they belong to different clusters. A standard algorithm for clustered FL is proposed in \cite{ghosh_efficient_2021}, called \texttt{IFCA}, which requires \emph{suitable} initialization and the knowledge of hyper-parameters like the number of clusters (which is often quite difficult to obtain in practical applications) to converge. We propose an improved algorithm, \emph{Successive Refine Federated Clustering Algorithm} (\texttt{SR-FCA}), which removes such restrictive assumptions. \texttt{SR-FCA} treats each user as a singleton cluster as an initialization, and then successively refine the cluster estimation via exploiting similar users belonging to the same cluster. In any intermediate step, \texttt{SR-FCA} uses a robust federated learning algorithm within each cluster to exploit simultaneous training and to correct clustering errors. Furthermore, \texttt{SR-FCA} does not require any \emph{good} initialization (warm start), both in theory and practice. We show that with proper choice of learning rate, \texttt{SR-FCA} incurs arbitrarily small clustering error. Additionally, we validate the performance of our algorithm on standard FL datasets in non-convex problems like neural nets, and we show the benefits of \texttt{SR-FCA} over baselines.

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