A Simple Data Augmentation for Feature Distribution Skewed Federated Learning

by   Yunlu Yan, et al.

Federated learning (FL) facilitates collaborative learning among multiple clients in a distributed manner, while ensuring privacy protection. However, its performance is inevitably degraded as suffering data heterogeneity, i.e., non-IID data. In this paper, we focus on the feature distribution skewed FL scenario, which is widespread in real-world applications. The main challenge lies in the feature shift caused by the different underlying distributions of local datasets. While the previous attempts achieved progress, few studies pay attention to the data itself, the root of this issue. Therefore, the primary goal of this paper is to develop a general data augmentation technique at the input level, to mitigate the feature shift. To achieve this goal, we propose FedRDN, a simple yet remarkably effective data augmentation method for feature distribution skewed FL, which randomly injects the statistics of the dataset from the entire federation into the client's data. By this, our method can effectively improve the generalization of features, thereby mitigating the feature shift. Moreover, FedRDN is a plug-and-play component, which can be seamlessly integrated into the data augmentation flow with only a few lines of code. Extensive experiments on several datasets show that the performance of various representative FL works can be further improved by combining them with FedRDN, which demonstrates the strong scalability and generalizability of FedRDN. The source code will be released.


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