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The recent developments of Diffusion Models (DMs) enable generation of astonishingly high-quality synthetic samples. Recent work showed that the synthetic samples generated by the diffusion model, which is pre-trained on public data and fully fine-tuned with differential privacy on private data, can train a downstream classifier, while achieving a good privacy-utility tradeoff. However, fully fine-tuning such large diffusion models with DP-SGD can be very resource-demanding in terms of memory usage and computation. In this work, we investigate Parameter-Efficient Fine-Tuning (PEFT) of diffusion models using Low-Dimensional Adaptation (LoDA) with Differential Privacy. We evaluate the proposed method with the MNIST and CIFAR-10 datasets and demonstrate that such efficient fine-tuning can also generate useful synthetic samples for training downstream classifiers, with guaranteed privacy protection of fine-tuning data. Our source code will be made available on GitHub.

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We provide a simple and flexible framework for designing differentially private algorithms to find approximate stationary points of non-convex loss functions. Our framework is based on using a private approximate risk minimizer to "warm start" another private algorithm for finding stationary points. We use this framework to obtain improved, and sometimes optimal, rates for several classes of non-convex loss functions. First, we obtain improved rates for finding stationary points of smooth non-convex empirical loss functions. Second, we specialize to quasar-convex functions, which generalize star-convex functions and arise in learning dynamical systems and training some neural nets. We achieve the optimal rate for this class. Third, we give an optimal algorithm for finding stationary points of functions satisfying the Kurdyka-Lojasiewicz (KL) condition. For example, over-parameterized neural networks often satisfy this condition. Fourth, we provide new state-of-the-art rates for stationary points of non-convex population loss functions. Fifth, we obtain improved rates for non-convex generalized linear models. A modification of our algorithm achieves nearly the same rates for second-order stationary points of functions with Lipschitz Hessian, improving over the previous state-of-the-art for each of the above problems.

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For small privacy parameter $\epsilon$, $\epsilon$-differential privacy (DP) provides a strong worst-case guarantee that no membership inference attack (MIA) can succeed at determining whether a person's data was used to train a machine learning model. The guarantee of DP is worst-case because: a) it holds even if the attacker already knows the records of all but one person in the data set; and b) it holds uniformly over all data sets. In practical applications, such a worst-case guarantee may be overkill: practical attackers may lack exact knowledge of (nearly all of) the private data, and our data set might be easier to defend, in some sense, than the worst-case data set. Such considerations have motivated the industrial deployment of DP models with large privacy parameter (e.g. $\epsilon \geq 7$), and it has been observed empirically that DP with large $\epsilon$ can successfully defend against state-of-the-art MIAs. Existing DP theory cannot explain these empirical findings: e.g., the theoretical privacy guarantees of $\epsilon \geq 7$ are essentially vacuous. In this paper, we aim to close this gap between theory and practice and understand why a large DP parameter can prevent practical MIAs. To tackle this problem, we propose a new privacy notion called practical membership privacy (PMP). PMP models a practical attacker's uncertainty about the contents of the private data. The PMP parameter has a natural interpretation in terms of the success rate of a practical MIA on a given data set. We quantitatively analyze the PMP parameter of two fundamental DP mechanisms: the exponential mechanism and Gaussian mechanism. Our analysis reveals that a large DP parameter often translates into a much smaller PMP parameter, which guarantees strong privacy against practical MIAs. Using our findings, we offer principled guidance for practitioners in choosing the DP parameter.

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Differential Privacy (DP) ensures that training a machine learning model does not leak private data. However, the cost of DP is lower model accuracy or higher sample complexity. In practice, we may have access to auxiliary public data that is free of privacy concerns. This has motivated the recent study of what role public data might play in improving the accuracy of DP models. In this work, we assume access to a given amount of public data and settle the following fundamental open questions: 1. What is the optimal (worst-case) error of a DP model trained over a private data set while having access to side public data? What algorithms are optimal? 2. How can we harness public data to improve DP model training in practice? We consider these questions in both the local and central models of DP. To answer the first question, we prove tight (up to constant factors) lower and upper bounds that characterize the optimal error rates of three fundamental problems: mean estimation, empirical risk minimization, and stochastic convex optimization. We prove that public data reduces the sample complexity of DP model training. Perhaps surprisingly, we show that the optimal error rates can be attained (up to constants) by either discarding private data and training a public model, or treating public data like it's private data and using an optimal DP algorithm. To address the second question, we develop novel algorithms which are "even more optimal" (i.e. better constants) than the asymptotically optimal approaches described above. For local DP mean estimation with public data, our algorithm is optimal including constants. Empirically, our algorithms show benefits over existing approaches for DP model training with side access to public data.

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Machine learning models are increasingly used in high-stakes decision-making systems. In such applications, a major concern is that these models sometimes discriminate against certain demographic groups such as individuals with certain race, gender, or age. Another major concern in these applications is the violation of the privacy of users. While fair learning algorithms have been developed to mitigate discrimination issues, these algorithms can still leak sensitive information, such as individuals' health or financial records. Utilizing the notion of differential privacy (DP), prior works aimed at developing learning algorithms that are both private and fair. However, existing algorithms for DP fair learning are either not guaranteed to converge or require full batch of data in each iteration of the algorithm to converge. In this paper, we provide the first stochastic differentially private algorithm for fair learning that is guaranteed to converge. Here, the term "stochastic" refers to the fact that our proposed algorithm converges even when minibatches of data are used at each iteration (i.e. stochastic optimization). Our framework is flexible enough to permit different fairness notions, including demographic parity and equalized odds. In addition, our algorithm can be applied to non-binary classification tasks with multiple (non-binary) sensitive attributes. As a byproduct of our convergence analysis, we provide the first utility guarantee for a DP algorithm for solving nonconvex-strongly concave min-max problems. Our numerical experiments show that the proposed algorithm consistently offers significant performance gains over the state-of-the-art baselines, and can be applied to larger scale problems with non-binary target/sensitive attributes.

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We study differentially private (DP) stochastic optimization (SO) with data containing outliers and loss functions that are not Lipschitz continuous. To date, the vast majority of work on DP SO assumes that the loss is Lipschitz (i.e. stochastic gradients are uniformly bounded), and their error bounds scale with the Lipschitz parameter of the loss. While this assumption is convenient, it is often unrealistic: in many practical problems where privacy is required, data may contain outliers or be unbounded, causing some stochastic gradients to have large norm. In such cases, the Lipschitz parameter may be prohibitively large, leading to vacuous excess risk bounds. Thus, building on a recent line of work [WXDX20, KLZ22], we make the weaker assumption that stochastic gradients have bounded $k$-th moments for some $k \geq 2$. Compared with works on DP Lipschitz SO, our excess risk scales with the $k$-th moment bound instead of the Lipschitz parameter of the loss, allowing for significantly faster rates in the presence of outliers. For convex and strongly convex loss functions, we provide the first asymptotically optimal excess risk bounds (up to a logarithmic factor). Moreover, in contrast to the prior works [WXDX20, KLZ22], our bounds do not require the loss function to be differentiable/smooth. We also devise an accelerated algorithm that runs in linear time and yields improved (compared to prior works) and nearly optimal excess risk for smooth losses. Additionally, our work is the first to address non-convex non-Lipschitz loss functions satisfying the Proximal-PL inequality; this covers some classes of neural nets, among other practical models. Our Proximal-PL algorithm has nearly optimal excess risk that almost matches the strongly convex lower bound. Lastly, we provide shuffle DP variations of our algorithms, which do not require a trusted curator (e.g. for distributed learning).

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We study differentially private (DP) federated learning (FL) with non-convex loss functions and heterogeneous (non-i.i.d.) client data in the absence of a trusted server, both with and without a secure "shuffler" to anonymize client reports. We propose novel algorithms that satisfy local differential privacy (LDP) at the client level and shuffle differential privacy (SDP) for three classes of Lipschitz continuous loss functions: First, we consider losses satisfying the Proximal Polyak-Lojasiewicz (PL) inequality, which is an extension of the classical PL condition to the constrained setting. Prior works studying DP PL optimization only consider the unconstrained problem with Lipschitz loss functions, which rules out many interesting practical losses, such as strongly convex, least squares, and regularized logistic regression. However, by analyzing the proximal PL scenario, we permit such losses which are Lipschitz on a restricted parameter domain. We propose LDP and SDP algorithms that nearly attain the optimal strongly convex, homogeneous (i.i.d.) rates. Second, we provide the first DP algorithms for non-convex/non-smooth loss functions. Third, we specialize our analysis to smooth, unconstrained non-convex FL. Our bounds improve on the state-of-the-art, even in the special case of a single client, and match the non-private lower bound in certain practical parameter regimes. Numerical experiments show that our algorithm yields better accuracy than baselines for most privacy levels.

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Federated learning (FL) is a distributed learning paradigm in which many clients with heterogeneous, unbalanced, and often sensitive local data, collaborate to learn a model. Local Differential Privacy (LDP) provides a strong guarantee that each client's data cannot be leaked during and after training, without relying on a trusted third party. While LDP is often believed to be too stringent to allow for satisfactory utility, our paper challenges this belief. We consider a general setup with unbalanced, heterogeneous data, disparate privacy needs across clients, and unreliable communication, where a random number/subset of clients is available each round. We propose three LDP algorithms for smooth (strongly) convex FL; each are noisy variations of distributed minibatch SGD. One is accelerated and one involves novel time-varying noise, which we use to obtain the first non-trivial LDP excess risk bound for the fully general non-i.i.d. FL problem. Specializing to i.i.d. clients, our risk bounds interpolate between the best known and/or optimal bounds in the centralized setting and the cross-device setting, where each client represents just one person's data. Furthermore, we show that in certain regimes, our convergence rate (nearly) matches the corresponding non-private lower bound or outperforms state of the art non-private algorithms (``privacy for free''). Finally, we validate our theoretical results and illustrate the practical utility of our algorithm with numerical experiments.

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In this paper, we propose a new notion of fairness violation, called Exponential R\'enyi Mutual Information (ERMI). We show that ERMI is a strong fairness violation notion in the sense that it provides upper bound guarantees on existing notions of fairness violation. We then propose the Fair Empirical Risk Minimization via ERMI regularization framework, called FERMI. Whereas most existing in-processing fairness algorithms are deterministic, we provide the first stochastic optimization method with a provable convergence guarantee for solving FERMI. Our stochastic algorithm is amenable to large-scale problems, as we demonstrate experimentally. In addition, we provide a batch (deterministic) algorithm for solving FERMI with the optimal rate of convergence. Both of our algorithms are applicable to problems with multiple (non-binary) sensitive attributes and non-binary targets. Extensive experiments show that FERMI achieves the most favorable tradeoffs between fairness violation and test accuracy across various problem setups compared with state-of-the-art baselines.

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Finding efficient, easily implementable differentially private (DP) algorithms that offer strong excess risk bounds is an important problem in modern machine learning. To date, most work has focused on private empirical risk minimization (ERM) or private population loss minimization. However, there are often other objectives--such as fairness, adversarial robustness, or sensitivity to outliers--besides average performance that are not captured in the classical ERM setup. To this end, we study a completely general family of convex, Lipschitz loss functions and establish the first known DP excess risk and runtime bounds for optimizing this broad class. We provide similar bounds under additional assumptions of smoothness and/or strong convexity. We also address private stochastic convex optimization (SCO). While $(\epsilon, \delta)$-DP ($\delta > 0$) has been the focus of much recent work in private SCO, proving tight population loss bounds and runtime bounds for $(\epsilon, 0)$-DP remains a challenging open problem. We provide the tightest known $(\epsilon, 0)$-DP population loss bounds and fastest runtimes under the presence of (or lack of) smoothness and strong convexity. Our methods extend to the $\delta > 0$ setting, where we offer the unique benefit of ensuring differential privacy for arbitrary $\epsilon > 0$ by incorporating a new form of Gaussian noise. Finally, we apply our theory to two learning frameworks: tilted ERM and adversarial learning. In particular, our theory quantifies tradeoffs between adversarial robustness, privacy, and runtime. Our results are achieved using perhaps the simplest DP algorithm: output perturbation. Although this method is not novel conceptually, our novel implementation scheme and analysis show that the power of this method to achieve strong privacy, utility, and runtime guarantees has not been fully appreciated in prior works.

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