Now It Sounds Like You: Learning Personalized Vocabulary On Device


  • Ashish Shenoy Meta
  • Sid Wang Meta
  • Pierce Chuang Meta
  • John Nguyen Meta



ML: Distributed Machine Learning & Federated Learning, ML: Privacy-Aware ML, SNLP: Language Models


In recent years, Federated Learning (FL) has shown significant advancements in its ability to perform various natural language processing (NLP) tasks. This work focuses on applying personalized FL for on-device language modeling. Due to limitations of memory and latency, these models cannot support the complexity of sub-word tokenization or beam search decoding, resulting in the decision to deploy a closed-vocabulary language model. However, closed-vocabulary models are unable to handle out-of-vocabulary (OOV) words belonging to specific users. To address this issue, We propose a novel technique called "OOV expansion" that improves OOV coverage and increases model accuracy while minimizing the impact on memory and latency. This method introduces a personalized "OOV adapter" that effectively transfers knowledge from a central model and learns word embedding for personalized vocabulary. OOV expansion significantly outperforms standard FL personalization methods on a set of common FL benchmarks.