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Federated learning with differential privacy, or private federated learning, provides a strategy to train machine learning models while respecting users' privacy. However, differential privacy can disproportionately degrade the performance of the models on under-represented groups, as these parts of the distribution are difficult to learn in the presence of noise. Existing approaches for enforcing fairness in machine learning models have considered the centralized setting, in which the algorithm has access to the users' data. This paper introduces an algorithm to enforce group fairness in private federated learning, where users' data does not leave their devices. First, the paper extends the modified method of differential multipliers to empirical risk minimization with fairness constraints, thus providing an algorithm to enforce fairness in the central setting. Then, this algorithm is extended to the private federated learning setting. The proposed algorithm, FPFL, is tested on a federated version of the Adult dataset and an "unfair" version of the FEMNIST dataset. The experiments on these datasets show how private federated learning accentuates unfairness in the trained models, and how FPFL is able to mitigate such unfairness.

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Training a Tokenizer for Free with Private Federated Learning

Federated learning with differential privacy, i.e. private federated learning (PFL), makes it possible to train models on private data distributed across users’ devices without harming privacy. PFL is efficient for models, such as neural networks, that have a fixed number of parameters, and thus a fixed-dimensional gradient vector. Such models include neural-net language models, but not tokenizers, the topic of this work. Training a tokenizer…
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