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Adaptive Self-Distillation for Minimizing Client Drift in Heterogeneous Federated Learning

M.YashwanthGaurav Kumar NayakArya SinghYogesh SimmhanAnirban Chakraborty
Feb 2024
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Federated Learning (FL) is a machine learning paradigm that enables clients to jointly train a global model by aggregating the locally trained models without sharing any local training data. In practice, there can often be substantial heterogeneity (e.g., class imbalance) across the local data distributions observed by each of these clients. Under such non-iid data distributions across clients, FL suffers from the 'client-drift' problem where every client drifts to its own local optimum. This results in slower convergence and poor performance of the aggregated model. To address this limitation, we propose a novel regularization technique based on adaptive self-distillation (ASD) for training models on the client side. Our regularization scheme adaptively adjusts to the client's training data based on the global model entropy and the client's label distribution. The proposed regularization can be easily integrated atop existing, state-of-the-art FL algorithms, leading to a further boost in the performance of these off-the-shelf methods. We theoretically explain how ASD reduces client-drift and also explain its generalization ability. We demonstrate the efficacy of our approach through extensive experiments on multiple real-world benchmarks and show substantial gains in performance over state-of-the-art methods.
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