K. Prasad, S. Ghosh, G. Cormode, I. Mironov, A. Yousefpour, and P. Stock. Reconciling security and communication efficiency in federated learning. In International Workshop on Federated Learning: Recent Advances and New Challenges in Conjunction with NeurIPS 2022, 2022.

Cross-device Federated Learning is an increasingly popular machine learning setting to train a model by leveraging a large population of client devices with high privacy and security guarantees. However, communication efficiency remains a major bottleneck when scaling federated learning to production environments, particularly due to bandwidth constraints during uplink communication. In this paper, we formalize and address the problem of compressing client-to-server model updates under the Secure Aggregation primitive, a core component of Federated Learning pipelines that allows the server to aggregate the client updates without accessing them individually. In particular, we adapt standard scalar quantization and pruning methods to Secure Aggregation and propose Secure Indexing, a variant of Secure Aggregation that supports quantization for extreme compression. We establish state-of-the-art results on LEAF benchmarks in a secure Federated Learning setup with up to 40 compression in uplink communication with no meaningful loss in utility compared to uncompressed baselines.

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