Communication-Efficient and Privacy-Preserving Feature-based Federated Transfer Learning

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Articlepeer-review


Federated learning has attracted growing interest as it preserves the clients' privacy. As a variant of federated learning, federated transfer learning utilizes the knowledge from similar tasks and thus has also been intensively studied. However, due to the limited radio spectrum, the communication efficiency of federated learning via wireless links is critical since some tasks may require thousands of Terabytes of uplink payload. In order to improve the communication efficiency, we in this paper propose the feature-based federated transfer learning as an innovative approach to reduce the uplink payload by more than five orders of magnitude compared to that of existing approaches. We first introduce the system design in which the extracted features and outputs are uploaded instead of parameter updates, and then determine the required payload with this approach and provide comparisons with the existing approaches. Subsequently, we analyze the random shuffling scheme that preserves the clients' privacy. Finally, we evaluate the performance of the proposed learning scheme via experiments on an image classification task to show its effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3875-3880
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings - IEEE Global Communications Conference, GLOBECOM
StatePublished - 2022
Event2022 IEEE Global Communications Conference, GLOBECOM 2022 - Virtual, Online, Brazil
Duration: Dec 4 2022Dec 8 2022


  • Federated learning
  • computer vision
  • transfer learning
  • wireless communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Signal Processing


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