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World first proposal by HUST to ITU approved

August 1, 2020

Led by Professor Yong Xiao, Professor Xiaohu Ge, and Professor Robert Caiming Qiu from the School of Electronic Information and Communications of HUST, the proposal for establishing the world’s first reference architecture of federated learning for IoT and Smart City & Community Service has been approved in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Study Group 20 (SG20) meeting recently held from 6 to 16 July, 2020. The proposed new work item “Requirements and Reference Architecture of IoT and Smart City & Community Service based on Federated Machine Learning” has been thoroughly discussed during the meeting and finally approved by the Mr Nasser Saleh Al Marzouqi (TRA, UAE), Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 20 (SG20) in the Closing Plenary of the meeting. This proposed new work item is in collaboration with China Information Communication Technologies (CICT) Group, ZTE Corporation, China Unicom, and China Mobile.



Federated Learning is an emerging distributed AI technology. Different from the traditional centralized data processing solutions, it enables a collective model construction from decentralized datasets across networks and devices without causing any data leakage. It has recently received significant interest from both academia and industry due to its huge potential in addressing isolated data islands, improving data privacy and protection, enabling collaborative model training, and communication efficient learning, unleashing the full power for next-generation data-driven intelligent applications and smart services in the IoT and Smart City. This proposed new work item is expected to accelerate wide-spread application and popularity of distributed machine learning including Federated Learning in the telecommunication network and other related fields.


ITU is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs. Founded in 1865 to facilitate international connectivity in communications networks, it allocates global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develops the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and strives to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide. ITU's global membership includes 193 Member States as well as 900 companies, universities, international and regional organizations. It plays a key role in global information technology development and telecommunication standardization.

In December 2019, Professor Yong Xiao attended the general meeting held at the headquarters of the ITU in Geneva, Switzerland.


In recent years, HUST has been actively participating in the international standardization activities in ITU. The university also work in close collaboration with  multiple ITU members including China Information Communication Technologies (CICT) Group, China Mobile, China Unicom and ZTE.


Due to COVID-19 , the ITU-T SG20 meeting was held online. More than 190 experts from 30 member states including China, US, UK, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Russia are participating in this year’s meeting.


Written by: Can Shi

Edited by: Shengyuan Ma


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