HarmoFL: Harmonizing Local and Global Drifts in Federated Learning on Heterogeneous Medical Images


  • Meirui Jiang The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Zirui Wang Beihang University
  • Qi Dou The Chinese University of Hong Kong




Computer Vision (CV), Machine Learning (ML)


Multiple medical institutions collaboratively training a model using federated learning (FL) has become a promising solution for maximizing the potential of data-driven models, yet the non-independent and identically distributed (non-iid) data in medical images is still an outstanding challenge in real-world practice. The feature heterogeneity caused by diverse scanners or protocols introduces a drift in the learning process, in both local (client) and global (server) optimizations, which harms the convergence as well as model performance. Many previous works have attempted to address the non-iid issue by tackling the drift locally or globally, but how to jointly solve the two essentially coupled drifts is still unclear. In this work, we concentrate on handling both local and global drifts and introduce a new harmonizing framework called HarmoFL. First, we propose to mitigate the local update drift by normalizing amplitudes of images transformed into the frequency domain to mimic a unified imaging setting, in order to generate a harmonized feature space across local clients. Second, based on harmonized features, we design a client weight perturbation guiding each local model to reach a flat optimum, where a neighborhood area of the local optimal solution has a uniformly low loss. Without any extra communication cost, the perturbation assists the global model to optimize towards a converged optimal solution by aggregating several local flat optima. We have theoretically analyzed the proposed method and empirically conducted extensive experiments on three medical image classification and segmentation tasks, showing that HarmoFL outperforms a set of recent state-of-the-art methods with promising convergence behavior. Code is available at: https://github.com/med-air/HarmoFL




How to Cite

Jiang, M., Wang, Z., & Dou, Q. (2022). HarmoFL: Harmonizing Local and Global Drifts in Federated Learning on Heterogeneous Medical Images. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 36(1), 1087-1095. https://doi.org/10.1609/aaai.v36i1.19993



AAAI Technical Track on Computer Vision I