FedSoft: Soft Clustered Federated Learning with Proximal Local Updating

11 Dec 2021  ·  Yichen Ruan, Carlee Joe-Wong ·

Traditionally, clustered federated learning groups clients with the same data distribution into a cluster, so that every client is uniquely associated with one data distribution and helps train a model for this distribution. We relax this hard association assumption to soft clustered federated learning, which allows every local dataset to follow a mixture of multiple source distributions. We propose FedSoft, which trains both locally personalized models and high-quality cluster models in this setting. FedSoft limits client workload by using proximal updates to require the completion of only one optimization task from a subset of clients in every communication round. We show, analytically and empirically, that FedSoft effectively exploits similarities between the source distributions to learn personalized and cluster models that perform well.

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