Fair and efficient contribution valuation for vertical federated learning

Zhenan Fan, Huang Fang, Zirui Zhou, Jian Pei, Michael P. Friedlander, Yong Zhang

Federated learning is a popular technology for training machine learning models on distributed data sources without sharing data. Vertical federated learning or feature-based federated learning applies to the cases that different data sources share the same sample ID space but differ in feature space. To ensure the data owners' long-term engagement, it is critical to objectively assess the contribution from each data source and recompense them accordingly. The Shapley value (SV) is a provably fair contribution valuation metric originated from cooperative game theory. However, computing the SV requires extensively retraining the model on each subset of data sources, which causes prohibitively high communication costs in federated learning. We propose a contribution valuation metric called vertical federated Shapley value (VerFedSV) based on SV. We show that VerFedSV not only satisfies many desirable properties for fairness but is also efficient to compute, and can be adapted to both synchronous and asynchronous vertical federated learning algorithms. Both theoretical analysis and extensive experimental results verify the fairness, efficiency, and adaptability of VerFedSV.

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