Example in recommendation with FedAvg

This document introduces how to use PaddleFL to train a model with Fl Strategy.


  • paddlepaddle>=1.6

How to install PaddleFL

Please use python which has paddlepaddle installed

python setup.py install


Gru4rec is a classical session-based recommendation model. Detailed implementations with paddlepaddle is here.


Public Dataset Rsc15

#download data
cd example/gru4rec_demo
sh download.sh

How to work in PaddleFL

PaddleFL has two phases , CompileTime and RunTime. In CompileTime, a federated learning task is defined by fl_master. In RunTime, a federated learning job is executed on fl_server and fl_trainer in distributed clusters.

sh run.sh

How to work in CompileTime

In this example, we implement compile time programs in fl_master.py

# please run fl_master to generate fl_job
python fl_master.py

In fl_master.py, we first define FL-Strategy, User-Defined-Program and Distributed-Config. Then FL-Job-Generator generate FL-Job for federated server and worker.

# define model
model = Model()

# define JobGenerator and set model config
# feed_name and target_name are config for save model.
job_generator = JobGenerator()
optimizer = fluid.optimizer.SGD(learning_rate=2.0)
    [x.name for x in model.inputs], [model.loss.name, model.recall.name])

# define FL-Strategy , we now support two flstrategy, fed_avg and dpsgd. Inner_step means fl_trainer locally train inner_step mini-batch.
build_strategy = FLStrategyFactory()
build_strategy.fed_avg = True
build_strategy.inner_step = 1
strategy = build_strategy.create_fl_strategy()

# define Distributed-Config and generate fl_job
endpoints = [""]
output = "fl_job_config"
    strategy, server_endpoints=endpoints, worker_num=2, output=output)

How to work in RunTime

python -u fl_scheduler.py >scheduler.log &
python -u fl_server.py >server0.log &
python -u fl_trainer.py 0 data/ >trainer0.log &
python -u fl_trainer.py 1 data/ >trainer1.log &

fl_trainer.py can define own reader according to data.

r = Gru4rec_Reader()
train_reader = r.reader(train_file_dir, place, batch_size=10)

Simulated experiments on real world dataset

To show the concept and effectiveness of horizontal federated learning with PaddleFL, a simulated experiment is conducted on an open source dataset with a real world task. In horizontal federated learning, a group of organizations are doing similar tasks based on private dataset and they are willing to collaborate on a certain task. The goal of the collaboration is to improve the task accuracy with federated learning.

The simulated experiment suppose all organizations have homogeneous dataset and homogeneous task which is an ideal case. The whole dataset is from small part of [Rsc15] and each organization has a subset as a private dataset. To show the performanc e improvement under federated learning, models based on each organization’s private dataset are trained and a model under distributed federated learning is trained. A model based on traditional parameter server training is also trained where the whole dataset is owned by a single organization.

From the table and the figure given below, model evaluation results are similar between federated learning and traditional parameter server training. It is clear that compare with models trained with only private dataset, models’ performance for each organization get significant improvement with federated learning.

# download code and readme
wget https://paddle-zwh.bj.bcebos.com/gru4rec_paddlefl_benchmark/gru4rec_benchmark.tar


training methods

FL Strategy


the whole dataset

private training


the whole dataset

federated learning



1/4 of the whole dataset

private training


1/4 of the whole dataset

private training


1/4 of the whole dataset

private training


1/4 of the whole dataset

private training