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Poster
Personalized Federated Learning with Theoretical Guarantees: A Model-Agnostic Meta-Learning Approach
Alireza Fallah · Aryan Mokhtari · Asuman Ozdaglar

Wed Dec 09 09:00 AM -- 11:00 AM (PST) @ Poster Session 3 #1142

In Federated Learning, we aim to train models across multiple computing units (users), while users can only communicate with a common central server, without exchanging their data samples. This mechanism exploits the computational power of all users and allows users to obtain a richer model as their models are trained over a larger set of data points. However, this scheme only develops a common output for all the users, and, therefore, it does not adapt the model to each user. This is an important missing feature, especially given the heterogeneity of the underlying data distribution for various users. In this paper, we study a personalized variant of the federated learning in which our goal is to find an initial shared model that current or new users can easily adapt to their local dataset by performing one or a few steps of gradient descent with respect to their own data. This approach keeps all the benefits of the federated learning architecture, and, by structure, leads to a more personalized model for each user. We show this problem can be studied within the Model-Agnostic Meta-Learning (MAML) framework. Inspired by this connection, we study a personalized variant of the well-known Federated Averaging algorithm and evaluate its performance in terms of gradient norm for non-convex loss functions. Further, we characterize how this performance is affected by the closeness of underlying distributions of user data, measured in terms of distribution distances such as Total Variation and 1-Wasserstein metric.

Author Information

Alireza Fallah (MIT)
Aryan Mokhtari (UT Austin)
Asuman Ozdaglar (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Asu Ozdaglar received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, in 1996, and the S.M. and the Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, in 1998 and 2003, respectively. She is currently a professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is also the director of the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems. Her research expertise includes optimization theory, with emphasis on nonlinear programming and convex analysis, game theory, with applications in communication, social, and economic networks, distributed optimization and control, and network analysis with special emphasis on contagious processes, systemic risk and dynamic control. Professor Ozdaglar is the recipient of a Microsoft fellowship, the MIT Graduate Student Council Teaching award, the NSF Career award, the 2008 Donald P. Eckman award of the American Automatic Control Council, the Class of 1943 Career Development Chair, the inaugural Steven and Renee Innovation Fellowship, and the 2014 Spira teaching award. She served on the Board of Governors of the Control System Society in 2010 and was an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control. She is currently the area co-editor for a new area for the journal Operations Research, entitled "Games, Information and Networks. She is the co-author of the book entitled “Convex Analysis and Optimization” (Athena Scientific, 2003).

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