Get our free extension to see links to code for papers anywhere online!Free add-on: code for papers everywhere!Free add-on: See code for papers anywhere!

Authors:Maryam Aliakbarpour, Syomantak Chaudhuri, Thomas A. Courtade, Alireza Fallah, Michael I. Jordan

Abstract:Local Differential Privacy (LDP) offers strong privacy guarantees without requiring users to trust external parties. However, LDP applies uniform protection to all data features, including less sensitive ones, which degrades performance of downstream tasks. To overcome this limitation, we propose a Bayesian framework, Bayesian Coordinate Differential Privacy (BCDP), that enables feature-specific privacy quantification. This more nuanced approach complements LDP by adjusting privacy protection according to the sensitivity of each feature, enabling improved performance of downstream tasks without compromising privacy. We characterize the properties of BCDP and articulate its connections with standard non-Bayesian privacy frameworks. We further apply our BCDP framework to the problems of private mean estimation and ordinary least-squares regression. The BCDP-based approach obtains improved accuracy compared to a purely LDP-based approach, without compromising on privacy.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:We consider a dynamic mechanism design problem where an auctioneer sells an indivisible good to two groups of buyers in every round, for a total of $T$ rounds. The auctioneer aims to maximize their discounted overall revenue while adhering to a fairness constraint that guarantees a minimum average allocation for each group. We begin by studying the static case ($T=1$) and establish that the optimal mechanism involves two types of subsidization: one that increases the overall probability of allocation to all buyers, and another that favors the group which otherwise has a lower probability of winning the item. We then extend our results to the dynamic case by characterizing a set of recursive functions that determine the optimal allocation and payments in each round. Notably, our results establish that in the dynamic case, the seller, on the one hand, commits to a participation reward to incentivize truth-telling, and on the other hand, charges an entry fee for every round. Moreover, the optimal allocation once more involves subsidization in favor of one group, where the extent of subsidization depends on the difference in future utilities for both the seller and buyers when allocating the item to one group versus the other. Finally, we present an approximation scheme to solve the recursive equations and determine an approximately optimal and fair allocation efficiently.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:We consider a platform's problem of collecting data from privacy sensitive users to estimate an underlying parameter of interest. We formulate this question as a Bayesian-optimal mechanism design problem, in which an individual can share her (verifiable) data in exchange for a monetary reward or services, but at the same time has a (private) heterogeneous privacy cost which we quantify using differential privacy. We consider two popular differential privacy settings for providing privacy guarantees for the users: central and local. In both settings, we establish minimax lower bounds for the estimation error and derive (near) optimal estimators for given heterogeneous privacy loss levels for users. Building on this characterization, we pose the mechanism design problem as the optimal selection of an estimator and payments that will elicit truthful reporting of users' privacy sensitivities. Under a regularity condition on the distribution of privacy sensitivities we develop efficient algorithmic mechanisms to solve this problem in both privacy settings. Our mechanism in the central setting can be implemented in time $\mathcal{O}(n \log n)$ where $n$ is the number of users and our mechanism in the local setting admits a Polynomial Time Approximation Scheme (PTAS).

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:We study adaptive methods for differentially private convex optimization, proposing and analyzing differentially private variants of a Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD) algorithm with adaptive stepsizes, as well as the AdaGrad algorithm. We provide upper bounds on the regret of both algorithms and show that the bounds are (worst-case) optimal. As a consequence of our development, we show that our private versions of AdaGrad outperform adaptive SGD, which in turn outperforms traditional SGD in scenarios with non-isotropic gradients where (non-private) Adagrad provably outperforms SGD. The major challenge is that the isotropic noise typically added for privacy dominates the signal in gradient geometry for high-dimensional problems; approaches to this that effectively optimize over lower-dimensional subspaces simply ignore the actual problems that varying gradient geometries introduce. In contrast, we study non-isotropic clipping and noise addition, developing a principled theoretical approach; the consequent procedures also enjoy significantly stronger empirical performance than prior approaches.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:Multi-modal distributions are commonly used to model clustered data in statistical learning tasks. In this paper, we consider the Mixed Linear Regression (MLR) problem. We propose an optimal transport-based framework for MLR problems, Wasserstein Mixed Linear Regression (WMLR), which minimizes the Wasserstein distance between the learned and target mixture regression models. Through a model-based duality analysis, WMLR reduces the underlying MLR task to a nonconvex-concave minimax optimization problem, which can be provably solved to find a minimax stationary point by the Gradient Descent Ascent (GDA) algorithm. In the special case of mixtures of two linear regression models, we show that WMLR enjoys global convergence and generalization guarantees. We prove that WMLR's sample complexity grows linearly with the dimension of data. Finally, we discuss the application of WMLR to the federated learning task where the training samples are collected by multiple agents in a network. Unlike the Expectation Maximization algorithm, WMLR directly extends to the distributed, federated learning setting. We support our theoretical results through several numerical experiments, which highlight our framework's ability to handle the federated learning setting with mixture models.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:In this paper, we study the generalization properties of Model-Agnostic Meta-Learning (MAML) algorithms for supervised learning problems. We focus on the setting in which we train the MAML model over $m$ tasks, each with $n$ data points, and characterize its generalization error from two points of view: First, we assume the new task at test time is one of the training tasks, and we show that, for strongly convex objective functions, the expected excess population loss is bounded by $\mathcal{O}(1/mn)$. Second, we consider the MAML algorithm's generalization to an unseen task and show that the resulting generalization error depends on the total variation distance between the underlying distributions of the new task and the tasks observed during the training process. Our proof techniques rely on the connections between algorithmic stability and generalization bounds of algorithms. In particular, we propose a new definition of stability for meta-learning algorithms, which allows us to capture the role of both the number of tasks $m$ and number of samples per task $n$ on the generalization error of MAML.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:The goal of federated learning is to design algorithms in which several agents communicate with a central node, in a privacy-protecting manner, to minimize the average of their loss functions. In this approach, each node not only shares the required computational budget but also has access to a larger data set, which improves the quality of the resulting model. However, this method only develops a common output for all the agents, and therefore, does not adapt the model to each user data. This is an important missing feature especially given the heterogeneity of the underlying data distribution for various agents. In this paper, we study a personalized variant of the federated learning in which our goal is to find a shared initial model in a distributed manner that can be slightly updated by either a current or a new user by performing one or a few steps of gradient descent with respect to its own loss function. This approach keeps all the benefits of the federated learning architecture while leading to a more personalized model for each user. We show this problem can be studied within the Model-Agnostic Meta-Learning (MAML) framework. Inspired by this connection, we propose a personalized variant of the well-known Federated Averaging algorithm and evaluate its performance in terms of gradient norm for non-convex loss functions. Further, we characterize how this performance is affected by the closeness of underlying distributions of user data, measured in terms of distribution distances such as Total Variation and 1-Wasserstein metric.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:In this paper, we study the minimax optimization problem in the smooth and strongly convex-strongly concave setting when we have access to noisy estimates of gradients. In particular, we first analyze the stochastic Gradient Descent Ascent (GDA) method with constant stepsize, and show that it converges to a neighborhood of the solution of the minimax problem. We further provide tight bounds on the convergence rate and the size of this neighborhood. Next, we propose a multistage variant of stochastic GDA (M-GDA) that runs in multiple stages with a particular learning rate decay schedule and converges to the exact solution of the minimax problem. We show M-GDA achieves the lower bounds in terms of noise dependence without any assumptions on the knowledge of noise characteristics. We also show that M-GDA obtains a linear decay rate with respect to the error's dependence on the initial error, although the dependence on condition number is suboptimal. In order to improve this dependence, we apply the multistage machinery to the stochastic Optimistic Gradient Descent Ascent (OGDA) algorithm and propose the M-OGDA algorithm which also achieves the optimal linear decay rate with respect to the initial error. To the best of our knowledge, this method is the first to simultaneously achieve the best dependence on noise characteristic as well as the initial error and condition number.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:We consider Model-Agnostic Meta-Learning (MAML) methods for Reinforcement Learning (RL) problems where the goal is to find a policy (using data from several tasks represented by Markov Decision Processes (MDPs)) that can be updated by one step of stochastic policy gradient for the realized MDP. In particular, using stochastic gradients in MAML update step is crucial for RL problems since computation of exact gradients requires access to a large number of possible trajectories. For this formulation, we propose a variant of the MAML method, named Stochastic Gradient Meta-Reinforcement Learning (SG-MRL), and study its convergence properties. We derive the iteration and sample complexity of SG-MRL to find an $\epsilon$-first-order stationary point, which, to the best of our knowledge, provides the first convergence guarantee for model-agnostic meta-reinforcement learning algorithms. We further show how our results extend to the case where more than one step of stochastic policy gradient method is used in the update during the test time.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:We study distributed stochastic gradient (D-SG) method and its accelerated variant (D-ASG) for solving decentralized strongly convex stochastic optimization problems where the objective function is distributed over several computational units, lying on a fixed but arbitrary connected communication graph, subject to local communication constraints where noisy estimates of the gradients are available. We develop a framework which allows to choose the stepsize and the momentum parameters of these algorithms in a way to optimize performance by systematically trading off the bias, variance, robustness to gradient noise and dependence to network effects. When gradients do not contain noise, we also prove that distributed accelerated methods can \emph{achieve acceleration}, requiring $\mathcal{O}(\kappa \log(1/\varepsilon))$ gradient evaluations and $\mathcal{O}(\kappa \log(1/\varepsilon))$ communications to converge to the same fixed point with the non-accelerated variant where $\kappa$ is the condition number and $\varepsilon$ is the target accuracy. To our knowledge, this is the first acceleration result where the iteration complexity scales with the square root of the condition number in the context of \emph{primal} distributed inexact first-order methods. For quadratic functions, we also provide finer performance bounds that are tight with respect to bias and variance terms. Finally, we study a multistage version of D-ASG with parameters carefully varied over stages to ensure exact $\mathcal{O}(-k/\sqrt{\kappa})$ linear decay in the bias term as well as optimal $\mathcal{O}(\sigma^2/k)$ in the variance term. We illustrate through numerical experiments that our approach results in practical algorithms that are robust to gradient noise and that can outperform existing methods.

Via