Communication-efficient federated learning

Mingzhe Chen, Nir Shlezinger, H. Vincent Poor, Yonina C. Eldar, Shuguang Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


Federated learning (FL) enables edge devices, such as Internet of Things devices (e.g., sensors), servers, and institutions (e.g., hospitals), to collaboratively train a machine learning (ML) model without sharing their private data. FL requires devices to exchange their ML parameters iteratively, and thus the time it requires to jointly learn a reliable model depends not only on the number of training steps but also on the ML parameter transmission time per step. In practice, FL parameter transmissions are often carried out by a multitude of participating devices over resource-limited communication networks, for example, wireless networks with limited bandwidth and power. Therefore, the repeated FL parameter transmission from edge devices induces a notable delay, which can be larger than the ML model training time by orders of magnitude. Hence, communication delay constitutes a major bottleneck in FL. Here, a communication-efficient FL framework is proposed to jointly improve the FL convergence time and the training loss. In this framework, a probabilistic device selection scheme is designed such that the devices that can significantly improve the convergence speed and training loss have higher probabilities of being selected for ML model transmission. To further reduce the FL convergence time, a quantization method is proposed to reduce the volume of the model parameters exchanged among devices, and an efficient wireless resource allocation scheme is developed. Simulation results show that the proposed FL framework can improve the identification accuracy and convergence time by up to 3.6% and 87% compared to standard FL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2024789118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 27 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Federated learning
  • Machine learning
  • Wireless communications


Dive into the research topics of 'Communication-efficient federated learning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this