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Combining Federated Learning and Edge Computing toward Ubiquitous Intelligence: Challenges, Recent Advances, and Future Directions
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  • Qiang Duan ,
  • Jun Huang ,
  • Shijing Hu ,
  • Ruijun Deng ,
  • Zhihui Lu ,
  • Shui Yu
Qiang Duan
Pennsylvania State University

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Jun Huang
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Shijing Hu
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Ruijun Deng
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Zhihui Lu
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Full leverage of the huge volume of data generated on a large number of user devices for providing intelligent services in the 6G network calls for Ubiquitous Intelligence (UI). A key to developing UI lies in the involvement of the large number of network devices, which contribute their data to collaborative Machine Learning (ML) and provide their computational resources to support the learning process. Federated Learning (FL) is a new ML method that enables data owners to collaborate in model training without exposing private data, which allows user devices to contribute their data to developing UI. Edge computing deploys cloud-like capabilities at the network edge, which enables network devices to offer their computational resources for supporting FL. Therefore, a combination of FL and edge computing may greatly facilitate the development of ubiquitous intelligence.
In this article, we present a comprehensive survey of the recent developments in technologies for combining FL and edge computing with a holistic vision across the fields of FL and edge computing. We conduct our survey from both the perspective of an FL framework deployed in an edge computing environment (FL in Edge) and the perspective of an edge computing system providing a platform for supporting FL (Edge for FL). From the FL in Edge perspective, we first identify the main challenges to FL in edge computing and then survey the representative technical strategies for addressing the challenges. From the Edge for FL perspective, we first analyze the key requirements for edge computing to support FL and then review the recent advances in edge computing technologies that may be exploited to meet the requirements. Then we discuss open problems and identify some possible directions for future research on combining FL and edge computing, with the hope of arousing the research community’s interest in this emerging and exciting interdisciplinary field.