Practical Federated Gradient Boosting Decision Trees

Qinbin Li, Zeyi Wen, Bingsheng He

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paperpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Gradient Boosting Decision Trees (GBDTs) have become very successful in recent years, with many awards in machine learning and data mining competitions. There have been several recent studies on how to train GBDTs in the federated learning setting. In this paper, we focus on horizontal federated learning, where data samples with the same features are distributed among multiple parties. However, existing studies are not efficient or effective enough for practical use. They suffer either from the inefficiency due to the usage of costly data transformations such as secure sharing and homomorphic encryption, or from the low model accuracy due to differential privacy designs. In this paper, we study a practical federated environment with relaxed privacy constraints. In this environment, a dishonest party might obtain some information about the other parties' data, but it is still impossible for the dishonest party to derive the actual raw data of other parties. Specifically, each party boosts a number of trees by exploiting similarity information based on locality-sensitive hashing. We prove that our framework is secure without exposing the original record to other parties, while the computation overhead in the training process is kept low. Our experimental studies show that, compared with normal training with the local data of each party, our approach can significantly improve the predictive accuracy, and achieve comparable accuracy to the original GBDT with the data from all parties.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication34th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-20)
PublisherAAAI Press
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781577358350
ISBN (Print)978-1-57735-835-0
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event34th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence - Hilton New York Midtown, New York, United States
Duration: 7 Feb 202012 Feb 2020


Conference34th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence
Abbreviated titleAAAI-20
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York


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