FedVal: Different good or different bad in federated learning


Viktor Valadi, AI Sweden; Xinchi Qiu, Pedro Porto Buarque de Gusmão, and Nicholas D. Lane, University of Cambridge; Mina Alibeigi, University of Cambridge and Zenseact AB


Federated learning (FL) systems are susceptible to attacks from malicious actors who might attempt to corrupt the training model through various poisoning attacks. FL also poses new challenges in addressing group bias, such as ensuring fair performance for different demographic groups. Traditional methods used to address such biases require centralized access to the data, which FL systems do not have. In this paper, we present a novel approach FedVal for both robustness and fairness that does not require any additional information from clients that could raise privacy concerns and consequently compromise the integrity of the FL system. To this end, we propose an innovative score function based on a server-side validation method that assesses client updates and determines the optimal aggregation balance between locally-trained models. Our research shows that this approach not only provides solid protection against poisoning attacks but can also be used to reduce group bias and subsequently promote fairness while maintaining the system's capability for differential privacy. Extensive experiments on the CIFAR-10, FEMNIST, and PUMS ACSIncome datasets in different configurations demonstrate the effectiveness of our method, resulting in state-of-the-art performances. We have proven robustness in situations where 80% of participating clients are malicious. Additionally, we have shown a significant increase in accuracy for underrepresented labels from 32% to 53%, and increase in recall rate for underrepresented features from 19% to 50%.

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@inproceedings {291249,
author = {Viktor Valadi and Xinchi Qiu and Pedro Porto Buarque de Gusm{\~a}o and Nicholas D. Lane and Mina Alibeigi},
title = {{FedVal}: Different good or different bad in federated learning},
booktitle = {32nd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-37-3},
address = {Anaheim, CA},
pages = {6365--6380},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity23/presentation/valadi},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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