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Towards Understanding Biased Client Selection in Federated Learning

Yae Jee Cho · Jianyu Wang · Gauri Joshi


Federated learning is a distributed optimization paradigm that enables a large number of resource-limited client nodes to cooperatively train a model without data sharing. Previous works analyzed the convergence of federated learning by accounting of data heterogeneity, communication/computation limitations, and partial client participation. However, most assume unbiased client participation, where clients are selected such that the aggregated model update is unbiased. In our work, we present the convergence analysis of federated learning with biased client selection and quantify how the bias affects convergence speed. We show that biasing client selection towards clients with higher local loss yields faster error convergence. From this insight, we propose Power-of-Choice, a communication- and computation-efficient client selection framework that flexibly spans the trade-off between convergence speed and solution bias. Extensive experiments demonstrate that Power-of-Choice can converge up to 3 times faster and give 10% higher test accuracy than the baseline random selection.

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