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Confidence-Aware Personalized Federated Learning via Variational Expectation Maximization

Junyi Zhu · Xingchen Ma · Matthew B. Blaschko

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 377


Federated Learning (FL) is a distributed learning scheme to train a shared model across clients. One common and fundamental challenge in FL is that the sets of data across clients could be non-identically distributed and have different sizes. Personalized Federated Learning (PFL) attempts to solve this challenge via locally adapted models. In this work, we present a novel framework for PFL based on hierarchical Bayesian modeling and variational inference. A global model is introduced as a latent variable to augment the joint distribution of clients’ parameters and capture the common trends of different clients, optimization is derived based on the principle of maximizing the marginal likelihood and conducted using variational expectation maximization. Our algorithm gives rise to a closed-form estimation of a confidence value which comprises the uncertainty of clients’ parameters and local model deviations from the global model. The confidence value is used to weigh clients’ parameters in the aggregation stage and adjust the regularization effect of the global model. We evaluate our method through extensive empirical studies on multiple datasets. Experimental results show that our approach obtains competitive results under mild heterogeneous circumstances while significantly outperforming state-of-the-art PFL frameworks in highly heterogeneous settings.

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