Distributionally robust edge learning with dirichlet process prior

Zhaofeng Zhang, Yue Chen, Junshan Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In order to meet the real-time performance requirements, intelligent decisions in many IoT applications must take place right here right now at the network edge. The conventional cloud-based learning approach would not be able to keep up with the demands in achieving edge intelligence in these applications. Nevertheless, pushing the artificial intelligence (AI) frontier to achieve edge intelligence is highly nontrivial due to the constrained computing resources and limited training data at the network edge. To tackle these challenges, we develop a distributionally robust optimization (DRO)-based edge learning algorithm, where the uncertainty model is constructed to foster the synergy of cloud knowledge transfer and local training. Specifically, the knowledge transferred from the cloud is in the form of a Dirichlet process prior distribution for the edge model parameters, and the edge device further constructs an uncertainty set centered around the empirical distribution of its local samples to capture the information of local data processing. The edge learning DRO problem, subject to the above two distributional uncertainty constraints, is then recast as an equivalent single-layer optimization problem using a duality approach. We then use an Expectation-Maximization (EM) algorithm-inspired method to derive a convex relaxation, based on which we devise algorithms to learn the edge model parameters. Finally, extensive experiments are implemented to showcase the performance gain over standard learning approaches using local edge data only.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2020 IEEE 40th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, ICDCS 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781728170022
StatePublished - Nov 2020
Event40th IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, ICDCS 2020 - Singapore, Singapore
Duration: Nov 29 2020Dec 1 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems


Conference40th IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, ICDCS 2020


  • Dirichlet process
  • Distributionally robust optimization
  • Edge learning
  • Wasserstein distance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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