No One Idles: Efficient Heterogeneous Federated Learning with Parallel Edge and Server Computation
Abstract: Federated learning suffers from a latency bottleneck induced by network stragglers, which hampers the training efficiency significantly. In addition, due to the heterogeneous data distribution and security requirements, simple and fast averaging aggregation is not feasible anymore. Instead, complicated aggregation operations, such as knowledge distillation, are required. The time cost for complicated aggregation becomes a new bottleneck that limits the computational efficiency of FL. In this work, we claim that the root cause of training latency actually lies in the aggregation-then-broadcasting workflow of the server. By swapping the computational order of aggregation and broadcasting, we propose a novel and efficient parallel federated learning (PFL) framework that unlocks the edge nodes during global computation and the central server during local computation. This fully asynchronous and parallel pipeline enables handling complex aggregation and network stragglers, allowing flexible device participation as well as achieving scalability in computation. We theoretically prove that synchronous and asynchronous PFL can achieve a similar convergence rate as vanilla FL. Extensive experiments empirically show that our framework brings up to $5.56\times$ speedup compared with traditional FL. Code is available at: https://github.com/Hypervoyager/PFL.
Submission Number: 749