- TL;DR: We propose Federated User Representation Learning (FURL), a simple, scalable, privacy-preserving and bandwidth-efficient way to utilize existing neural personalization techniques in the Federated Learning (FL) setting.
- Abstract: Collaborative personalization, such as through learned user representations (embeddings), can improve the prediction accuracy of neural-network-based models significantly. We propose Federated User Representation Learning (FURL), a simple, scalable, privacy-preserving and resource-efficient way to utilize existing neural personalization techniques in the Federated Learning (FL) setting. FURL divides model parameters into federated and private parameters. Private parameters, such as private user embeddings, are trained locally, but unlike federated parameters, they are not transferred to or averaged on the server. We show theoretically that this parameter split does not affect training for most model personalization approaches. Storing user embeddings locally not only preserves user privacy, but also improves memory locality of personalization compared to on-server training. We evaluate FURL on two datasets, demonstrating a significant improvement in model quality with 8% and 51% performance increases, and approximately the same level of performance as centralized training with only 0% and 4% reductions. Furthermore, we show that user embeddings learned in FL and the centralized setting have a very similar structure, indicating that FURL can learn collaboratively through the shared parameters while preserving user privacy.
- Keywords: Machine Learning, Federated Learning, Personalization, User Representation
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