FedAdapt: Adaptive Offloading for IoT Devices in Federated Learning

Di Wu, Rehmat Ullah, Paul Harvey, Peter Kilpatrick, Ivor Spence, Blesson Varghese

Research output: Working paper


Applying Federated Learning (FL) on Internet-of-Things devices is necessitated by the large volumes of data they produce and growing concerns of data privacy. However, there are three challenges that need to be addressed to make FL efficient: (i) execute on devices with limited computational capabilities, (ii) account for stragglers due to computational heterogeneity of devices, and (iii) adapt to the changing network bandwidths. This paper presents FedAdapt, an adaptive offloading FL framework to mitigate the aforementioned challenges. FedAdapt accelerates local training in computationally constrained devices by leveraging layer offloading of deep neural networks (DNNs) to servers. Further, FedAdapt adopts reinforcement learning-based optimization and clustering to adaptively identify which layers of the DNN should be offloaded for each individual device on to a server to tackle the challenges of computational heterogeneity and changing network bandwidth. Experimental studies are carried out on a lab-based testbed comprising five IoT devices. By offloading a DNN from the device to the server FedAdapt reduces the training time of a typical IoT device by over half compared to classic FL. The training time of extreme stragglers and the overall training time can be reduced by up to 57%. Furthermore, with changing network bandwidth, FedAdapt is demonstrated to reduce the training time by up to 40% when compared to classic FL, without sacrificing accuracy. FedAdapt can be downloaded from https://github.com/qub-blesson/FedAdapt.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 09 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

13 pages


  • cs.DC
  • cs.LG


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