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FedPerl: Semi-supervised Peer Learning for Skin Lesion Classification

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNIP,volume 12903)


Skin cancer is one of the most deadly cancers worldwide. Yet, it can be reduced by early detection. Recent deep-learning methods have shown a dermatologist-level performance in skin cancer classification. Yet, this success demands a large amount of centralized data, which is oftentimes not available. Federated learning has been recently introduced to train machine learning models in a privacy-preserved distributed fashion demanding annotated data at the clients, which is usually expensive and not available, especially in the medical field. To this end, we propose \(\texttt {FedPerl}\), a semi-supervised federated learning method that utilizes peer learning from social sciences and ensemble averaging from committee machines to build communities and encourage its members to learn from each other such that they produce more accurate pseudo labels. We also propose the peer anonymization (PA) technique as a core component of \(\texttt {FedPerl}\). PA preserves privacy and reduces the communication cost while maintaining the performance without additional complexity. We validated our method on 38,000 skin lesion images collected from 4 publicly available datasets. \(\texttt {FedPerl}\) achieves superior performance over the baselines and state-of-the-art \(\texttt {SSFL}\) by 15.8%, and 1.8% respectively. Further, \(\texttt {FedPerl}\) shows less sensitivity to noisy clients (


  • Semi-supervised federated learning
  • Skin cancer

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T.B. is financially supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

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Correspondence to Tariq Bdair .

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Bdair, T., Navab, N., Albarqouni, S. (2021). FedPerl: Semi-supervised Peer Learning for Skin Lesion Classification. In: de Bruijne, M., et al. Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention – MICCAI 2021. MICCAI 2021. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12903. Springer, Cham.

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