Labeling Chaos to Learning Harmony: Federated Learning with Noisy Labels

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Federated Learning (FL) is a distributed machine learning paradigm that enables learning models from decentralized private datasets where the labeling effort is entrusted to the clients. While most existing FL approaches assume high-quality labels are readily available on users’ devices, in reality, label noise can naturally occur in FL and is closely related to clients’ characteristics. Due to scarcity of available data and significant label noise variations among clients in FL, existing state-of-the-art centralized approaches exhibit unsatisfactory performance, while prior FL studies rely on excessive on-device computational schemes or additional clean data available on server. We propose FedLN, a framework to deal with label noise across different FL training stages; namely, FL initialization, on-device model training, and server model aggregation, able to accommodate the diverse computational capabilities of devices in a FL system. Specifically, FedLN computes per-client noise-level estimation in a single federated round and improves the models’ performance by either correcting or mitigating the effect of noisy samples. Our evaluation on various publicly available vision and audio datasets demonstrate a 22% improvement on average compared to other existing methods for a label noise level of 60%. We further validate the efficiency of FedLN in human-annotated real-world noisy datasets and report a 4.8% increase on average in models’ recognition performance, highlighting that FedLN can be useful for improving FL services provided to everyday users.
Original languageEnglish
Article number22
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology
Issue number2
Early online date9 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • Federated learning
  • deep learning
  • knowledge distillation
  • label correction
  • noisy labels


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