Federated Semi-Supervised Learning with Inter-Client Consistency & Disjoint Learning

While existing federated learning approaches mostly require that clients have fully-labeled data to train on, in realistic settings, data obtained at the client-side often comes without any accompanying labels. Such deficiency of labels may result from either high labeling cost, or difficulty of annotation due to the requirement of expert knowledge. Thus the private data at each client may be either partly labeled, or completely unlabeled with labeled data being available only at the server, which leads us to a new practical federated learning problem, namely Federated Semi-Supervised Learning (FSSL). In this work, we study two essential scenarios of FSSL based on the location of the labeled data. The first scenario considers a conventional case where clients have both labeled and unlabeled data (labels-at-client), and the second scenario considers a more challenging case, where the labeled data is only available at the server (labels-at-server). We then propose a novel method to tackle the problems, which we refer to as Federated Matching (FedMatch). FedMatch improves upon naive combinations of federated learning and semi-supervised learning approaches with a new inter-client consistency loss and decomposition of the parameters for disjoint learning on labeled and unlabeled data. Through extensive experimental validation of our method in the two different scenarios, we show that our method outperforms both local semi-supervised learning and baselines which naively combine federated learning with semi-supervised learning. The code is available at

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