Byzantine-Resilient Federated Learning with Heterogeneous Data Distribution


For mitigating Byzantine behaviors in federated learning (FL), most state-of-the-art approaches, such as Bulyan, tend to leverage the similarity of updates from the benign clients. Typically, any update that differs from the majority of other updates is treated as a Byzantine update. However, in many practical FL scenarios, data is non-IID across clients, thus the updates received from even the benign clients are quite dissimilar. Hence, using similarity based methods result in wasted opportunities to train a model from interesting non-IID data, and also slower model convergence. We propose DiverseFL to overcome this challenge in heterogeneous data distribution settings. Rather than comparing each client’s update with other client updates to detect Byzantine clients, DiverseFL compares each client’s update with a guiding update of that client. Any client whose update diverges from its associated guiding update is then tagged as a Byzantine node. The FL server in DiverseFL computes the guiding update in every round for each client over a small sample of the client’s local data that is received only once before start of the training. However, sharing even a small sample of client’s data with the FL server can compromise client’s data privacy needs. To tackle this challenge, DiverseFL creates a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE)-based enclave to receive each client’s sample and to compute its guiding updates. TEE provides a hardware assisted verification and attestation to each client that its data is not leaked outside of TEE. Through experiments involving neural networks, benchmark datasets and popular Byzantine attacks, we demonstrate that DiverseFL not only performs Byzantine mitigation quite effectively, it also almost matches the performance of OracleSGD, where the server only aggregates the updates from the benign clients.