Keywords: [ pre-trained models ] [ federated learning ] [ contrastive learning ]
Federated Learning (FL) is a machine learning paradigm that allows decentralized clients to learn collaboratively without sharing their private data. However, excessive computation and communication demands pose challenges to current FL frameworks, especially when training large-scale models. To prevent these issues from hindering the deployment of FL systems, we propose a lightweight framework where clients jointly learn to fuse the representations generated by multiple fixed pre-trained models rather than training a large-scale model from scratch. This leads us to a more practical FL problem by considering how to capture more client-specific and class-relevant information from the pre-trained models and jointly improve each client's ability to exploit those off-the-shelf models. Here, we design a Federated Prototype-wise Contrastive Learning (FedPCL) approach which shares knowledge across clients through their class prototypes and builds client-specific representations in a prototype-wise contrastive manner. Sharing prototypes rather than learnable model parameters allows each client to fuse the representations in a personalized way while keeping the shared knowledge in a compact form for efficient communication. We perform a thorough evaluation of the proposed FedPCL in the lightweight framework, measuring and visualizing its ability to fuse various pre-trained models on popular FL datasets.