Friend-as-learner: socially-driven trustworthy and efficient wireless federated edge learning

Xi Lin, Jun Wu*, Jianhua Li, Xi Zheng, Gaolei Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently, wireless edge networks have realized intelligent operation and management with edge artificial intelligence (AI) techniques (i.e., federated edge learning). However, the trustworthiness and effective incentive mechanisms of federated edge learning (FEL) have not been fully studied. Thus, the current FEL framework will still suffer untrustworthy or low-quality learning parameters from malicious or inactive learners, which undermines the viability and stability of FEL. To address these challenges, the potential social attributes among edge devices and their users can be exploited, while not included in previous works. In this paper, we propose a novel Social Federated Edge Learning framework (SFEL) over wireless networks, which recruits trustworthy social friends as learning partners. First, we build a social graph model to find like-minded friends, comprehensively considering the mutual trust and learning task similarity. Besides, we propose a social effect based incentive mechanism for better personal federated learning behaviors with both complete and incomplete information. Finally, we conduct extensive simulations with the Erdos-Renyi random network, the Facebook network, and the classic MNIST/CIFAR-10 datasets. Simulation results demonstrate our framework could realize trustworthy and efficient federated learning over wireless edge networks, and it is superior to the existing FEL incentive mechanisms that ignore social effects.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Artificial intelligence
  • federated edge learning
  • incentive mechanism
  • Internet of Things
  • resource allocation
  • Resource management
  • Social networking (online)
  • Social trust
  • Task analysis
  • Wireless communication
  • Wireless sensor networks


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