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Valentina Shumovskaia, Mert Kayaalp, Ali H. Sayed

Social learning is a non-Bayesian framework for distributed hypothesis testing aimed at learning the true state of the environment. Traditionally, the agents are assumed to receive observations conditioned on the same true state, although it is also possible to examine the case of heterogeneous models across the graph. One important special case is when heterogeneity is caused by the presence of malicious agents whose goal is to move the agents towards a wrong hypothesis. In this work, we propose an algorithm that allows to discover the true state of every individual agent based on the sequence of their beliefs. In so doing, the methodology is also able to locate malicious behavior.

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Elsa Rizk, Kun Yuan, Ali H. Sayed

In this work, we examine a network of agents operating asynchronously, aiming to discover an ideal global model that suits individual local datasets. Our assumption is that each agent independently chooses when to participate throughout the algorithm and the specific subset of its neighbourhood with which it will cooperate at any given moment. When an agent chooses to take part, it undergoes multiple local updates before conveying its outcomes to the sub-sampled neighbourhood. Under this setup, we prove that the resulting asynchronous diffusion strategy is stable in the mean-square error sense and provide performance guarantees specifically for the federated learning setting. We illustrate the findings with numerical simulations.

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Haoyuan Cai, Sulaiman A. Alghunaim, Ali H. Sayed

The optimistic gradient method is useful in addressing minimax optimization problems. Motivated by the observation that the conventional stochastic version suffers from the need for a large batch size on the order of $\mathcal{O}(\varepsilon^{-2})$ to achieve an $\varepsilon$-stationary solution, we introduce and analyze a new formulation termed Diffusion Stochastic Same-Sample Optimistic Gradient (DSS-OG). We prove its convergence and resolve the large batch issue by establishing a tighter upper bound, under the more general setting of nonconvex Polyak-Lojasiewicz (PL) risk functions. We also extend the applicability of the proposed method to the distributed scenario, where agents communicate with their neighbors via a left-stochastic protocol. To implement DSS-OG, we can query the stochastic gradient oracles in parallel with some extra memory overhead, resulting in a complexity comparable to its conventional counterpart. To demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed algorithm, we conduct tests by training generative adversarial networks.

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Valentina Shumovskaia, Mert Kayaalp, Ali H. Sayed

Traditional social learning frameworks consider environments with a homogeneous state, where each agent receives observations conditioned on that true state of nature. In this work, we relax this assumption and study the distributed hypothesis testing problem in a heterogeneous environment, where each agent can receive observations conditioned on their own personalized state of nature (or truth). This situation arises in many scenarios, such as when sensors are spatially distributed, or when individuals in a social network have differing views or opinions. In these heterogeneous contexts, the graph topology admits a block structure. We study social learning under personalized (or multitask) models and examine their convergence behavior.

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Mert Kayaalp, Ali H. Sayed

This paper investigates causal influences between agents linked by a social graph and interacting over time. In particular, the work examines the dynamics of social learning models and distributed decision-making protocols, and derives expressions that reveal the causal relations between pairs of agents and explain the flow of influence over the network. The results turn out to be dependent on the graph topology and the level of information that each agent has about the inference problem they are trying to solve. Using these conclusions, the paper proposes an algorithm to rank the overall influence between agents to discover highly influential agents. It also provides a method to learn the necessary model parameters from raw observational data. The results and the proposed algorithm are illustrated by considering both synthetic data and real Twitter data.

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Ping Hu, Virginia Bordignon, Mert Kayaalp, Ali H. Sayed

This paper studies the probability of error associated with the social machine learning framework, which involves an independent training phase followed by a cooperative decision-making phase over a graph. This framework addresses the problem of classifying a stream of unlabeled data in a distributed manner. We consider two kinds of classification tasks with limited observations in the prediction phase, namely, the statistical classification task and the single-sample classification task. For each task, we describe the distributed learning rule and analyze the probability of error accordingly. To do so, we first introduce a stronger consistent training condition that involves the margin distributions generated by the trained classifiers. Based on this condition, we derive an upper bound on the probability of error for both tasks, which depends on the statistical properties of the data and the combination policy used to combine the distributed classifiers. For the statistical classification problem, we employ the geometric social learning rule and conduct a non-asymptotic performance analysis. An exponential decay of the probability of error with respect to the number of unlabeled samples is observed in the upper bound. For the single-sample classification task, a distributed learning rule that functions as an ensemble classifier is constructed. An upper bound on the probability of error of this ensemble classifier is established.

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Ainur Zhaikhan, Ali H. Sayed

This paper proposes an exploration technique for multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL) with graph-based communication among agents. We assume the individual rewards received by the agents are independent of the actions by the other agents, while their policies are coupled. In the proposed framework, neighbouring agents collaborate to estimate the uncertainty about the state-action space in order to execute more efficient explorative behaviour. Different from existing works, the proposed algorithm does not require counting mechanisms and can be applied to continuous-state environments without requiring complex conversion techniques. Moreover, the proposed scheme allows agents to communicate in a fully decentralized manner with minimal information exchange. And for continuous-state scenarios, each agent needs to exchange only a single parameter vector. The performance of the algorithm is verified with theoretical results for discrete-state scenarios and with experiments for continuous ones.

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Marco Carpentiero, Vincenzo Matta, Ali H. Sayed

In this work we derive the performance achievable by a network of distributed agents that solve, adaptively and in the presence of communication constraints, a regression problem. Agents employ the recently proposed ACTC (adapt-compress-then-combine) diffusion strategy, where the signals exchanged locally by neighboring agents are encoded with randomized differential compression operators. We provide a detailed characterization of the mean-square estimation error, which is shown to comprise a term related to the error that agents would achieve without communication constraints, plus a term arising from compression. The analysis reveals quantitative relationships between the compression loss and fundamental attributes of the distributed regression problem, in particular, the stochastic approximation error caused by the gradient noise and the network topology (through the Perron eigenvector). We show that knowledge of such relationships is critical to allocate optimally the communication resources across the agents, taking into account their individual attributes, such as the quality of their data or their degree of centrality in the network topology. We devise an optimized allocation strategy where the parameters necessary for the optimization can be learned online by the agents. Illustrative examples show that a significant performance improvement, as compared to a blind (i.e., uniform) resource allocation, can be achieved by optimizing the allocation by means of the provided mean-square-error formulas.

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Ying Cao, Elsa Rizk, Stefan Vlaski, Ali H. Sayed

The vulnerability of machine learning models to adversarial attacks has been attracting considerable attention in recent years. Most existing studies focus on the behavior of stand-alone single-agent learners. In comparison, this work studies adversarial training over graphs, where individual agents are subjected to perturbations of varied strength levels across space. It is expected that interactions by linked agents, and the heterogeneity of the attack models that are possible over the graph, can help enhance robustness in view of the coordination power of the group. Using a min-max formulation of diffusion learning, we develop a decentralized adversarial training framework for multi-agent systems. We analyze the convergence properties of the proposed scheme for both convex and non-convex environments, and illustrate the enhanced robustness to adversarial attacks.

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Mert Kayaalp, Yunus Inan, Visa Koivunen, Emre Telatar, Ali H. Sayed

We consider the problem of information aggregation in federated decision making, where a group of agents collaborate to infer the underlying state of nature without sharing their private data with the central processor or each other. We analyze the non-Bayesian social learning strategy in which agents incorporate their individual observations into their opinions (i.e., soft-decisions) with Bayes rule, and the central processor aggregates these opinions by arithmetic or geometric averaging. Building on our previous work, we establish that both pooling strategies result in asymptotic normality characterization of the system, which, for instance, can be utilized in order to give approximate expressions for the error probability. We verify the theoretical findings with simulations and compare both strategies.

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