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# Agnostic Federated Learning

*Proceedings of the 36th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 97:4615-4625, 2019.

#### Abstract

A key learning scenario in large-scale applications is that of federated learning, where a centralized model is trained based on data originating from a large number of clients. We argue that, with the existing training and inference, federated models can be biased towards different clients. Instead, we propose a new framework of agnostic federated learning, where the centralized model is optimized for any target distribution formed by a mixture of the client distributions. We further show that this framework naturally yields a notion of fairness. We present data-dependent Rademacher complexity guarantees for learning with this objective, which guide the definition of an algorithm for agnostic federated learning. We also give a fast stochastic optimization algorithm for solving the corresponding optimization problem, for which we prove convergence bounds, assuming a convex loss function and a convex hypothesis set. We further empirically demonstrate the benefits of our approach in several datasets. Beyond federated learning, our framework and algorithm can be of interest to other learning scenarios such as cloud computing, domain adaptation, drifting, and other contexts where the training and test distributions do not coincide.