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Fake It Till Make It: Federated Learning with Consensus-Oriented Generation

Rui Ye · Yaxin Du · Zhenyang Ni · Yanfeng Wang · Siheng Chen

Halle B #112
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Wed 8 May 7:30 a.m. PDT — 9:30 a.m. PDT


In federated learning (FL), data heterogeneity is one key bottleneck that causes model divergence and limits performance. Addressing this, existing methods often regard data heterogeneity as an inherent property and propose to mitigate its adverse effects by correcting models. In this paper, we seek to break this inherent property by generating data to complement the original dataset to fundamentally mitigate heterogeneity level. As a novel attempt from the perspective of data, we propose federated learning with consensus-oriented generation (FedCOG). FedCOG consists of two key components at the client side: complementary data generation, which generates data extracted from the shared global model to complement the original dataset, and knowledge-distillation-based model training, which distills knowledge from global model to local model based on the generated data to mitigate over-fitting the original heterogeneous dataset.FedCOG has two critical advantages: 1) it can be a plug-and-play module to further improve the performance of most existing FL methods, and 2) it is naturally compatible with standard FL protocols such as Secure Aggregation since it makes no modification in communication process.Extensive experiments on classical and real-world FL datasets show that FedCOG consistently outperforms state-of-the-art methods. Code is available at

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