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Multi-Agent Deep Q-Networks for Efficient Edge Federated Learning Communications in Software-Defined IoT

Prohim Tam1, Sa Math1, Ahyoung Lee2, Seokhoon Kim1,3,*
1 Department of Software Convergence, Soonchunhyang University, Asan, 31538, Korea
2 Department of Computer Science, Kennesaw State University, Marietta, GA 30060, USA
3 Department of Computer Software Engineering, Soonchunhyang University, Asan, 31538, Korea
* Corresponding Author: Seokhoon Kim. Email:

Computers, Materials & Continua 2022, 71(2), 3319-3335.

Received 31 August 2021; Accepted 15 October 2021; Issue published 07 December 2021


Federated learning (FL) activates distributed on-device computation techniques to model a better algorithm performance with the interaction of local model updates and global model distributions in aggregation averaging processes. However, in large-scale heterogeneous Internet of Things (IoT) cellular networks, massive multi-dimensional model update iterations and resource-constrained computation are challenging aspects to be tackled significantly. This paper introduces the system model of converging software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) to enable device/resource abstractions and provide NFV-enabled edge FL (eFL) aggregation servers for advancing automation and controllability. Multi-agent deep Q-networks (MADQNs) target to enforce a self-learning softwarization, optimize resource allocation policies, and advocate computation offloading decisions. With gathered network conditions and resource states, the proposed agent aims to explore various actions for estimating expected long-term rewards in a particular state observation. In exploration phase, optimal actions for joint resource allocation and offloading decisions in different possible states are obtained by maximum Q-value selections. Action-based virtual network functions (VNF) forwarding graph (VNFFG) is orchestrated to map VNFs towards eFL aggregation server with sufficient communication and computation resources in NFV infrastructure (NFVI). The proposed scheme indicates deficient allocation actions, modifies the VNF backup instances, and reallocates the virtual resource for exploitation phase. Deep neural network (DNN) is used as a value function approximator, and epsilon-greedy algorithm balances exploration and exploitation. The scheme primarily considers the criticalities of FL model services and congestion states to optimize long-term policy. Simulation results presented the outperformance of the proposed scheme over reference schemes in terms of Quality of Service (QoS) performance metrics, including packet drop ratio, packet drop counts, packet delivery ratio, delay, and throughput.


Deep Q-networks; federated learning; network functions virtualization; quality of service; software-defined networking

Cite This Article

P. Tam, S. Math, A. Lee and S. Kim, "Multi-agent deep q-networks for efficient edge federated learning communications in software-defined iot," Computers, Materials & Continua, vol. 71, no.2, pp. 3319–3335, 2022.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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