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Federated Machine Learning Applications and its Working

Dr. Jagreet Kaur Gill | 17 May 2023

Federated Machine Learning Applications

Introduction to Federated Machine Learning

Data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) have recently received much attention. As you may already know, data is essential to machine learning model training. Or, to be more precise, a lot of data. Quite a lot of high-quality data, to be more precise. Data is becoming a vital resource for both individuals and businesses in the modern world. Everybody wants to protect their personal information from theft or compromise. However, much high-quality data is needed to train machine learning models. Traditional machine learning techniques entail centralizing all the data for model training in one place, which may result in data breaches and privacy violations.

A part of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that give power to the systems to automatically determine and boost from experience without being particularly programmed. Taken From Article, Machine Learning Model Testing Training

Federated Learning (FL) is a cutting-edge method to train machine learning models without compromising data privacy. Federated learning (FL) makes it possible to train models on various datasets spread across several locations without the requirement for data exchange. FL allows it to be possible for multiple users to collaboratively train models using local data while maintaining the decentralized and secure nature of the data. Federated learning lowers the danger of personal data breaches by enabling the development of a standard global model without centralizing the training data. Thanks to this decentralized method, training may now be carried out on end devices rather than centralized servers. Federated learning offers a promising approach to enhancing data privacy while enabling efficient machine learning. This paradigm has grown in popularity in several industries, like healthcare, banking, and IoT, where data privacy and ownership are crucial.

What is Federated Learning?

Federated learning is an innovative approach for training a decentralized machine learning model (deep neural networks) across multiple edge devices, such as smartphones, medical wearables, automobiles, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, etc. They train a shared model collaboratively, storing the training data locally without exchanging it with a central repository.

As a result, there is now an alternative to the conventional centralized method of creating machine learning models, in which data from many sources is gathered, stored, and then the model is trained on a single server.

In layman's terms, it is not the data that moves to the model, but vice-versa; it is the model that moves to the data, which means that the training occurs from users' interaction with end devices.

Google has been utilizing federated learning to enhance the next-word prediction model in Gboard for Android. The business leverages data from many devices while preserving users' private text messages.

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Centralized vs. Decentralized vs. Federated Machine Learning

To understand federated machine learning better, we need to understand how a centralized, decentralized approach works to perform ML.  

Centralized Machine Learning

In the traditional machine learning approach, data for machine learning models were initially gathered from several sources and put into a single, centralized repository. This central location could be a data lake, a data warehouse, or a new hybrid called a lake house. You choose an algorithm like the decision tree to train it on the gathered data. The produced model can then be executed directly on the central server or distributed across multiple devices.

There are several disadvantages of centralized machine learning, which are: 

  • Latency
  • Connectivity Issue
  • Data privacy Concerns

Decentralized Machine Learning

One solution to some of the abovementioned problems is to perform all machine learning locally. By not connecting with the central location, each device or local server trains the model using its own data and environment. Because private information doesn't need to be transferred to the cloud, ML can continue to operate despite the internet connectivity issues. 

The drawback of the decentralized technique is that more than one device has insufficient data to train a model with accurate prediction, as other sources do not contribute to model training.

Federated Machine Learning

Federated Learning not only facilitates learning at the edge, bringing model training to data distributed across millions of devices but also enables improving results obtained at the periphery in the central location. In other words, it allows for enhanced model training using centralized and decentralized data sources. This approach offers several advantages, including reducing the need for large-scale data transfers and enhancing data privacy. By leveraging the power of distributed computing, Federated Learning is proving to be a valuable solution for organizations seeking to perform machine learning tasks on large amounts of distributed data while preserving the privacy and security of their data sources.

How Federated Machine Learning Works?  

Data must not be on a centralized server to train a machine learning model using federated learning. Federated learning trains centralized models using decentralized methods. Iterative training in federated learning allows for continual learning and knowledge sharing because training can occur more than once.

  • Choosing a model, whether it is pre-trained or not at all, is the first step.
  • Then, the initial model is distributed to local servers or devices.
  • Local datasets are used to train local machine-learning models.
  • The local models' outcomes are transmitted to the cloud.  
  • A standard global model is created.
  • Global models search for the optimum performance using aggregate values.
  • Then, to incorporate global models into local models, attributes of global models are exchanged with local data centers.

A global share model enables multiple devices to learn collaboratively. The model is updated using the information stored on your devices, and only the model's acquired data (such as parameters and results) is sent to the cloud. It means that by storing personal data locally, it is protected. It is a decentralized machine learning technique that, by storing your data locally, also lowers the number of hardware infrastructure.

The process of sorting and designating the terms related to index without any interference of human individual. Taken From Article, Auto Indexing with Machine Learning Databases

Why should we use Federated ML?

Federated machine learning is the best option for sensitive or large datasets since it enables model training on distributed data while protecting the privacy and reducing communication costs. The technology requires good connections between local servers and minimum computational power for each node.

  • Privacy: With federated ML, training can occur locally on the edge device instead of the traditional methods where data is routed to a central server, potentially preventing data breaches.
  • Data Security: Data security is ensured since only the encrypted model updates are sent to the central server. In addition, only aggregated results can be decrypted using secure aggregation approaches like the Secure Aggregation Principle.
  • Access to Heterogeneous Data: Data spread over multiple devices, locations, and organizations is ensured through federated learning. It allows for the secure and private training of models on critical data, such as financial or medical information. Additionally, more diverse data allows for the generalization of models.

What are the applications of Federated ML?

When training data varies and applications require privacy-sensitive data, federated learning is crucial. Having all the data in one place is the ideal solution to our issues with standard machine learning models. Although federated learning is currently under investigation, there are already many applications using federated learning.


Statistical models are used to power apps like next-word prediction, facial recognition, and voice recognition by studying user behavior over a large pool of mobile phones. However, users can choose not to share their data to preserve their right to privacy or to save data or battery life on their phones. On smartphones, precise predictions can be made using federated learning without disclosing personal information or degrading the user experience.


In federated learning, entire organizations or institutions may be considered "devices." For instance, hospitals store enormous amounts of patient data that programs for predictive healthcare can access. On the other hand, hospitals adhere to strict privacy laws and may be constrained by administrative, legal, or ethical restrictions that call for data localization. Since it reduces network load and enables private learning among several devices/organizations, federated learning is a promising solution for these applications.

IoT (Internet of Things)

Modern IoT networks, including wearable technology, autonomous vehicles, and intelligent homes, rely on sensors to collect and respond to data in real-time. For instance, a fleet of autonomous vehicles might need a current simulation of pedestrian, construction, or traffic activity to function correctly. However, building aggregate models in these circumstances may be challenging due to privacy concerns and the limited connectivity of each device. Federated learning techniques allow for the rapid training of models that can adapt to changes in these systems while protecting user privacy.  


You already know how important user data is to personalization. However, websites like social networking, eCommerce platforms, and other venues spring to mind as more people worry about how much information they would prefer to keep from others. Federated learning may be used by the advertising industry, which relies on customer data to function and reduce concern.  

Autonomous Vehicles

Federated learning is being used to create self-driving cars since it can offer real-time predictions. The data may contain real-time updates on the state of the roads and traffic, enabling continual learning and quicker decision-making. This might lead to a safer and more fun self-driving car experience. A prospective field for the application of federated machine learning is the automotive industry. But right now, studying is the only thing being done in this direction. According to one study, federated learning may reduce training time for predicting the steering angle of self-driving cars.

Insurance Industry

Integrating financial, medical, and other data from many sources is necessary when creating a data service platform for the insurance industry. For an insurance company to improve its risk management capabilities and rate of business expansion, multi-party data must be considered. Effective data utilization without invading individual privacy is a fundamental challenge in the insurance industry.

A mechanism to build a Multi-ML parallel pipeline system to examine different ML methods' outcomes. Taken From Article, Machine Learning Pipeline Deployment and Architecture

Challenges and Limitations of Federated Learning

Federated learning has some significant challenges, as with any newly created technology.

Communication Efficiency

In federated learning, a network contains millions of devices. Message transfer becomes sluggish for several reasons, including limited bandwidth, a lack of resources, or geographic location.

The overall number of message passes and the size of a message in a single pass should be decreased to maintain the effectiveness of the communication channels.

Privacy and Data Protection

Some of the significant issues with federated learning are privacy and data security. The user device retains the local data, but model changes could compromise the information shared over the network.

Systems Heterogeneity

Due to the vast number of devices involved in federated learning networks, it is extremely difficult to account for storage, connectivity, and processing capacity variations. Furthermore, only a few of these devices participate simultaneously, which could result in biased training.

The methods of asynchronous communication, active device sampling, and fault tolerance can deal with such heterogeneities.

Statistical Heterogeneity

The numerous variations of data that are present among the client devices are the cause of this issue. For instance, specific devices may be able to save high-resolution image data while others may only store low-resolution images, or languages may differ depending on the user's location.

What is the future scope of Federated Machine Learning?

Federated Machine Learning (FML) has a broad and promising future, with many possible applications across many industries. FML is anticipated to become a favored machine learning technique for organizations and individuals due to the rising relevance of privacy and data protection. Furthermore, it is expected that integrating FML with edge computing would increase the effectiveness and scalability of machine learning models. Personalized medicine, driverless vehicles, and smart cities are just a few areas where FML may find use. Overall, new study areas and applications are constantly emerging, which makes the future of FML exciting and a required field for scholars and practitioners to follow.

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In conclusion, Federated Learning is a promising solution to the privacy and security issues raised by using private information in training machine learning models. FL lowers the danger of data breaches while enhancing performance and prediction accuracy by enabling models to be trained on local data without centralized servers. Given the rising relevance of data privacy and the integration of FL with edge computing, it is anticipated to become a preferred machine learning technique for businesses and individuals. Federated learning is a topic that is actively being researched and developed and has enormous potential for use in many different fields and applications.