Semi-Supervised Federated Peer Learning for Skin Lesion Classification

Tariq Bdair10000-0003-2049-2113, Nassir Navab10000-0002-6032-5611, Shadi Albarqouni20000-0003-2157-2211
1: Technical University of Munich, 2: University Hospital Bonn
Publication date: 2022/04/12
PDF · arXiv


Globally, Skin carcinoma is among the most lethal diseases. Millions of people are diagnosed with this cancer every year. Sill, early detection can decrease the medication cost and mortality rate substantially. The recent improvement in automated cancer classification using deep learning methods has reached a human-level performance requiring a large amount of annotated data assembled in one location, yet, finding such conditions usually is not feasible. Recently, federated learning (FL) has been proposed to train decentralized models in a privacy-preserved fashion depending on labeled data at the client-side, which is usually not available and costly. To address this, we propose FedPerl, a semi-supervised federated learning method. Our method is inspired by peer learning from educational psychology and ensemble averaging from committee machines. FedPerl builds communities based on clients' similarities. Then it encourages communities' members to learn from each other to generate more accurate pseudo labels for the unlabeled data. We also proposed the peer anonymization (PA) technique to anonymize clients. As a core component of our method, PA is orthogonal to other methods without additional complexity, and reduces the communication cost while enhances performance. Finally, we propose a dynamic peer learning policy that controls the learning stream to avoid any degradation in the performance, especially for the individual clients. Our experimental setup consists of 71,000 skin lesion images collected from 5 publicly available datasets. We test our method in four different scenarios in SSFL. With few annotated data, FedPerl is on par with a state-of-the-art method in skin lesion classification in the standard setup while outperforming SSFLs and the baselines by 1.8% and 15.8%, respectively. Also, it generalizes better to an unseen client while being less sensitive to noisy ones.


Semi-supervised Federated Learning · Peer Learning · Peer Anonymization · Dynamic Policy · Skin Lesion Classification

Bibtex @article{melba:2022:011:bdair, title = "Semi-Supervised Federated Peer Learning for Skin Lesion Classification", author = "Bdair, Tariq and Navab, Nassir and Albarqouni, Shadi", journal = "Machine Learning for Biomedical Imaging", volume = "1", issue = "April 2022 issue", year = "2022", pages = "1--37", issn = "2766-905X", doi = "", url = "" }
RISTY - JOUR AU - Bdair, Tariq AU - Navab, Nassir AU - Albarqouni, Shadi PY - 2022 TI - Semi-Supervised Federated Peer Learning for Skin Lesion Classification T2 - Machine Learning for Biomedical Imaging VL - 1 IS - April 2022 issue SP - 1 EP - 37 SN - 2766-905X DO - UR - ER -

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