Byzantine Resilient Distributed Multi-Task Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

AuthorFeedback Bibtex MetaReview Paper Review Supplemental


Jiani Li, Waseem Abbas, Xenofon Koutsoukos


Distributed multi-task learning provides significant advantages in multi-agent networks with heterogeneous data sources where agents aim to learn distinct but correlated models simultaneously. However, distributed algorithms for learning relatedness among tasks are not resilient in the presence of Byzantine agents. In this paper, we present an approach for Byzantine resilient distributed multi-task learning. We propose an efficient online weight assignment rule by measuring the accumulated loss using an agent’s data and its neighbors’ models. A small accumulated loss indicates a large similarity between the two tasks. In order to ensure the Byzantine resilience of the aggregation at a normal agent, we introduce a step for filtering out larger losses. We analyze the approach for convex models and show that normal agents converge resiliently towards their true targets. Further, an agent’s learning performance using the proposed weight assignment rule is guaranteed to be at least as good as in the non-cooperative case as measured by the expected regret. Finally, we demonstrate the approach using three case studies, including regression and classification problems, and show that our method exhibits good empirical performance for non-convex models, such as convolutional neural networks.