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Stochastic Controlled Averaging for Federated Learning with Communication Compression

Xinmeng Huang · Ping Li · Xiaoyun Li

Halle B #201
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Wed 8 May 1:45 a.m. PDT — 3:45 a.m. PDT


Communication compression has been an important topic in Federated Learning (FL) for alleviating the communication overhead. However, communication compression brings forth new challenges in FL due to the interplay of compression-incurred information distortion and inherent characteristics of FL such as partial participation and data heterogeneity. Despite the recent development, the existing approaches either cannot accommodate arbitrary data heterogeneity or partial participation, or require stringent conditions on compression. In this paper, we revisit the seminal stochastic controlled averaging method by proposing an equivalent but more efficient/simplified formulation with halved uplink communication costs, building upon which we propose two compressed FL algorithms, SCALLION and SCAFCOM, to support unbiased and biased compression, respectively. Both the proposed methods outperform the existing compressed FL methods in terms of communication and computation complexities. Moreover,SCALLION and SCAFCOM attain fast convergence rates under arbitrary data heterogeneity without any additional assumptions on compression errors. Experiments show that \scallion and \scafcom outperform recent compressed FL methods under the same communication budget.

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