Variational Federated Multi-Task Learning

Luca Corinzia, Joachim M. Buhmann

In classical federated learning a central server coordinates the training of a single model on a massively distributed network of devices. This setting can be naturally extended to a multi-task learning framework, to handle real-world federated datasets that typically show strong non-IID data distributions among devices. Even though federated multi-task learning has been shown to be an effective paradigm for real world datasets, it has been applied only to convex models. In this work we introduce VIRTUAL, an algorithm for federated multi-task learning with non-convex models. In VIRTUAL the federated network of the server and the clients is treated as a star-shaped Bayesian network, and learning is performed on the network using approximated variational inference. We show that this method is effective on real-world federated datasets, outperforming the current state-of-the-art for federated learning.

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