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# Improving the Model Consistency of Decentralized Federated Learning

*Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 202:31269-31291, 2023.

#### Abstract

To mitigate the privacy leakages and communication burdens of Federated Learning (FL), decentralized FL (DFL) discards the central server and each client only communicates with its neighbors in a decentralized communication network. However, existing DFL suffers from high inconsistency among local clients, which results in severe distribution shift and inferior performance compared with centralized FL (CFL), especially on heterogeneous data or sparse communication topologies. To alleviate this issue, we propose two DFL algorithms named DFedSAM and DFedSAM-MGS to improve the performance of DFL. Specifically, DFedSAM leverages gradient perturbation to generate local flat models via Sharpness Aware Minimization (SAM), which searches for models with uniformly low loss values. DFedSAM-MGS further boosts DFedSAM by adopting Multiple Gossip Steps (MGS) for better model consistency, which accelerates the aggregation of local flat models and better balances communication complexity and generalization. Theoretically, we present improved convergence rates $\small \mathcal{O}\big(\frac{1}{\sqrt{KT}}+\frac{1}{T}+\frac{1}{K^{1/2}T^{3/2}(1-\lambda)^2}\big)$ and $\small \mathcal{O}\big(\frac{1}{\sqrt{KT}}+\frac{1}{T}+\frac{\lambda^Q+1}{K^{1/2}T^{3/2}(1-\lambda^Q)^2}\big)$ in non-convex setting for DFedSAM and DFedSAM-MGS, respectively, where $1-\lambda$ is the spectral gap of gossip matrix and $Q$ is the number of MGS. Empirically, our methods can achieve competitive performance compared with CFL methods and outperform existing DFL methods.