Flower Example using TensorFlow/Keras + MLCube#

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This introductory example to Flower uses MLCube together with Keras, but deep knowledge of Keras is not necessarily required to run the example. However, it will help you understand how to adapt Flower to your use-cases with MLCube. Running this example in itself is quite easy.

Project Setup#

Start by cloning the example project. We prepared a single-line command that you can copy into your shell, which will checkout the example for you:

git clone --depth=1 https://github.com/adap/flower.git && mv flower/examples/quickstart-mlcube . && rm -rf flower && cd quickstart-mlcube

Installing Dependencies#

Project dependencies (such as tensorflow and flwr) are defined in pyproject.toml and requirements.txt. We recommend Poetry to install those dependencies and manage your virtual environment (Poetry installation) or pip, but feel free to use a different way of installing dependencies and managing virtual environments if you have other preferences.


poetry install
poetry shell

Poetry will install all your dependencies in a newly created virtual environment. To verify that everything works correctly, you can run the following command:

poetry run python3 -c "import flwr"

If you don’t see any errors, you’re good to go!


Write the command below in your terminal to install the dependencies according to the configuration file requirements.txt.

pip install -r requirements.txt

To verify that everything works correctly, you can run the following command:

python3 -c "import flwr"

If you don’t see any errors, you’re good to go!


For the MLCube setup you will need to install Docker on your system. Please refer to the Docker install guide on how to do that.


For the MLCube setup, we have prepared a script that you can execute in your shell using:


Run Federated Learning with TensorFlow/Keras in MLCube with Flower#

Afterward, you are ready to start the Flower server as well as the clients. You can simply start the server in a terminal as follows:


Now you are ready to start the clients. We have prepared a simple script called client.sh, which accepts a CLIENT_ID and can be executed as in:

# Shell 1
./dev/client.sh 1
# Shell 2
./dev/client.sh 2

Congrats! You have just run a Federated Learning experiment using TensorFlow/Keras in MLCube using Flower for federation.


Wondering how this works? Most of the interaction with MLCube happens in mlcube_utils.py, which reads and writes to the file system. It also provides a function called run_task, which invokes mlcube_docker run ... to execute the appropriate task. The custom client we have implemented in client.py will run the MLCube ‘download’ task when it’s instantiated. Fit and evaluate also interface through the mlcube_utils.py helpers for reading and writing to disk and calling the appropriate MLCube tasks.