Learning Private Neural Language Modeling with Attentive Aggregation

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Conference Proceeding
arXiv preprint arXiv:1812.07108, 2018, 2019-July
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Mobile keyboard suggestion is typically regarded as a word-level language modeling problem. Centralized machine learning techniques require the collection of massive user data for training purposes, which may raise privacy concerns in relation to users' sensitive data. Federated learning (FL) provides a promising approach to learning private language modeling for intelligent personalized keyboard suggestions by training models on distributed clients rather than training them on a central server. To obtain a global model for prediction, existing FL algorithms simply average the client models and ignore the importance of each client during model aggregation. Furthermore, there is no optimization for learning a well-generalized global model on the central server. To solve these problems, we propose a novel model aggregation with an attention mechanism considering the contribution of client models to the global model, together with an optimization technique during server aggregation. Our proposed attentive aggregation method minimizes the weighted distance between the server model and client models by iteratively updating parameters while attending to the distance between the server model and client models. Experiments on two popular language modeling datasets and a social media dataset show that our proposed method outperforms its counterparts in terms of perplexity and communication cost in most settings of comparison.
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