Privacy-aware Federated Learning with Global Differential Privacy

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Virginia Tech

There is an increasing need for low-power neural systems as neural networks become more widely used in embedded devices with limited resources. Spiking neural networks (SNNs) are proving to be a more energy-efficient option to conventional Artificial neural networks (ANNs), which are recognized for being computationally heavy. Despite its significance, there has been not enough attention on training SNNs on large-scale distributed Machine Learning techniques like Federated Learning (FL). As federated learning involves many energy-constrained devices, there is a significant opportunity to take advantage of the energy efficiency offered by SNNs. However, it is necessary to address the real-world communication constraints in an FL system and this is addressed with the help of three communication reduction techniques, namely, model compression, partial device participation, and periodic aggregation. Furthermore, the convergence of federated learning systems is also affected by data heterogeneity. Federated learning systems are capable of protecting the private data of clients from adversaries. However, by analyzing the uploaded client parameters, confidential information can still be revealed. To combat privacy attacks on the FL systems, various attempts have been made to incorporate differential privacy within the framework. In this thesis, we investigate the trade-offs between communication costs and training variance under a Federated Learning system with Differential Privacy applied at the parameter server (curator model).

Differential Privacy, Federated learning, Communication Constraints