Personalized Federated Learning using Hypernetworks

Aviv Shamsian*1  Aviv Navon*1   Ethan Fetaya1   Gal Chechik1,2  

* equal contribution

1Bar-Ilan University
2NVIDIA Research

Paper Code
Figure 1. Personalized Federated Hypernetwork (pFedHN) framework.

Personalized federated learning is tasked with training machine learning models for multiple clients, each with its own data distribution. The goal is to collaboratively train personalized models while accounting for the data disparity across clients and reducing communication costs.

We propose a novel approach to handle this problem using hypernetworks, termed pFedHN for personalized Federated HyperNetworks. In this approach, a central hypernetwork model is trained to generate a set of models, one model for each client. This architecture provides effective parameter-sharing across clients while maintaining the capacity to generate unique and diverse personal models. Furthermore, since hypernetwork parameters are never transmitted, this approach decouples communication cost from the trainable model size. We test pFedHN empirically in several personalized federated learning challenges and find that it outperforms previous methods. Finally, we show that pFedHN can generalize better to new clients whose distribution differ from any client observed during training.

Federated Learning

Federated learning (FL) aims to train a model over multiple disjoint local datasets. It is particularly useful when local data cannot be shared due to privacy, storage, or communication concerns. This is the case for instance, in IoT applications that create large amounts of data at edge devices, or with medical data that cannot be shared due to privacy. In federated learning, all clients collectively train a shared model without sharing data and while trying to minimize communication.

Personalized Federated Learning

One issue with FL is that training a single, global model cannot capture variability in the distribution of samples across clients. To handle this heterogeneity across clients, Federated Learning (PFL) allows each client to use a personalized model instead of a shared global model. The key challenge in PFL is to benefit from joint training while allowing each client to keep its own unique model and at the same time limit communication cost.

Personalized Federated Hypernetworks (pFedHN)

In this work, we propose using a single hypernetwok, termed Personalized Federated Hypernetworks (pFedHN), to learn personalized model for each client. PHN acts on client's embedding vector, that implicitly represents the data distribution of specific client, to produce the weights of a local network. In addition, we present pFedHN-PC ,a variant of pFedHN, that produces the feature extraction of the target network while learning a local classifier for each client. pFedHN and pFedHN-PC outperforms previous works in several FL setups and generalizes better to new clients with unseen data distributions.


Heterogeneous Data

Table 1. Heterogeneous data. Test accuracy over 10,50,100 clients on the CIFAR10, CIFAR100, and Omniglot datasets.
We compare pFedHN to previous works on non-iid data distribution using CIFAR10/100 and Omniglot datasets. The results are presented in Table 1. pFedHN achieves large improvements of 2%-10% over all competing approaches. Also, we show significant improvement using pFedHN-PC.

Computational Budget

Table 2. Computational budget. Test accuracy for CIFAR10/100 with 75 clients and varying computational capacities.
One major challenge presented by personalized FL is that the communication, storage, and computational resources of clients may differ significantly. Unfortunately, previous works do not address this resource heterogeneity. pFedHN can naturally adapt to this challenging learning setup, by producing target networks of different sizes. We evaluate pFedHN using 75 clients divided into tree equal sized groups each with different target network size (Small, Medium, Large). The results are presented in Table 2, showing that pFedHN achieves 4%-8% improvement over all competing methods. The results demonstrate the flexibility of our approach, which is capable of adjusting to different client settings while maintaining high accuracy.

Generalization to Novel Clients

Figure 2. Generalization to novel clients. The generalization gap accuracy between training and novel clients.
Next, we study an important learning setup where new clients join, and a new model has to be trained for their data. In the general case of sharing models across clients, this would require retraining (or finetuning) the shared model. While PFL methods can adapt to this setting by finetuning the global model locally, pFedHN architecture offers a significant benefit. Since the shared model learns a meta-model over the distribution of clients, it can in principle generalize to new clients without retraining. Figure ?? presents the accuracy generalization gap as a function of the total variation distance. We show that pFedHN achieves the best generalization performance for all levels of TV.


@inproceedings{Shamsian2021PersonalizedFL, title={Personalized Federated Learning using Hypernetworks}, author={Aviv Shamsian and Aviv Navon and Ethan Fetaya and Gal Chechik}, year={2021} }