Vlad Nitu, ANR Young Researchers (JCJC) laureate

The JCJC financing instrument allows project leaders to independently research on a specific theme. Its purpose is to support young researchers in the development of their research program and to promote responsibility and the capacity for scientific innovation. Vlad Nitu, a CNRS research fellow in the DRIM team, is the new JCJC laureate.

You have received an ANR Young Researchers scholarship. Can you tell us about this program?

ANR JCJC project funding is intended for researchers who defended their thesis less than 10 years ago. This support consists of funding to help applicants develop their project and an independent research team.

What research project have you presented?

My research project concerns the energy efficiency of Federated Learning systems. Machine Learning involves training a parameterized model with large amounts of data. For example, a model which can identify and differentiate tumours in medical images should be trained with tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of images. Most of the hospitals do not have access to such a large database and are often hindered by untrust or data protection regulations to share their data to a common database. In this context, the purpose of federated learning is to share the knoledge about these medical data in a privacy preserving way, therefore without sharing the raw data. But federated learning doesn't stop at the medical field. One of the most popular federated learning applications is the next word prediction in the Android keyboard. In this context, the energy-efficiency of Federated Learning matters, not only because these mobile devices are oflten powered on a battery, but also because a large number (somnetimes hundreds of millions) of devices participate in the model training process. Even if the energy consumption of a mobile device is negligible, when muliplied by 100 million it becomes substantial. In this context, the goal of my projet is to reduce the energy-consumption of federated learning tasks executed on mobile devices. 

What will this distinction bring you?

ANR has aproved a funding of around 250.000€ for my JCJC project which allows me to create a small group within the DRIM team because I will be able to finance a thesis, a post-doc and several research internships. This scholarship is also for me an opportunity to acquire new scientific responsibilities, and to evolve in my research career.