GPT-FL: Generative Pre-trained Model-Assisted Federated Learning


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In this work, we propose GPT-FL, a generative pre-trained model-assisted federated learning (FL) framework. At its core, GPT-FL leverages generative pre-trained models to generate diversified synthetic data. These generated data are used to train a downstream model on the server, which is then fine-tuned with private client data under the standard FL framework. We show that GPT-FL consistently outperforms state-of-the-art FL methods in terms of model test accuracy, communication efficiency, and client sampling efficiency. Through comprehensive ablation analysis, we discover that the downstream model generated by synthetic data plays a crucial role in controlling the direction of gradient diversity during FL training, which enhances convergence speed and contributes to the notable accuracy boost observed with GPT-FL. Also, regardless of whether the target data falls within or outside the domain of the pre-trained generative model, GPT-FL consistently achieves significant performance gains, surpassing the results obtained by models trained solely with FL or synthetic data.
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