UVeQFed: Universal Vector Quantization for Federated Learning

Nir Shlezinger, Mingzhe Chen, Yonina C. Eldar, H. Vincent Poor, Shuguang Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traditional deep learning models are trained at a centralized server using data samples collected from users. Such data samples often include private information, which the users may not be willing to share. Federated learning (FL) is an emerging approach to train such learning models without requiring the users to share their data. FL consists of an iterative procedure, where in each iteration the users train a copy of the learning model locally. The server then collects the individual updates and aggregates them into a global model. A major challenge that arises in this method is the need of each user to repeatedly transmit its learned model over the throughput limited uplink channel. In this work, we tackle this challenge using tools from quantization theory. In particular, we identify the unique characteristics associated with conveying trained models over rate-constrained channels, and propose a suitable quantization scheme for such settings, referred to as universal vector quantization for FL (UVeQFed). We show that combining universal vector quantization methods with FL yields a decentralized training system in which the compression of the trained models induces only a minimum distortion. We then theoretically analyze the distortion, showing that it vanishes as the number of users grows. We also characterize how models trained with conventional federated averaging combined with UVeQFed converge to the model which minimizes the loss function. Our numerical results demonstrate the gains of UVeQFed over previously proposed methods in terms of both distortion induced in quantization and accuracy of the resulting aggregated model.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number9305988
Pages (from-to)500-514
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
Early online date23 Dec 2020
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Federated learning
  • quantization

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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