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Authors:Rudrajit Das, Inderjit S. Dhillon, Alessandro Epasto, Adel Javanmard, Jieming Mao, Vahab Mirrokni, Sujay Sanghavi, Peilin Zhong

Abstract:The performance of a model trained with \textit{noisy labels} is often improved by simply \textit{retraining} the model with its own predicted \textit{hard} labels (i.e., $1$/$0$ labels). Yet, a detailed theoretical characterization of this phenomenon is lacking. In this paper, we theoretically analyze retraining in a linearly separable setting with randomly corrupted labels given to us and prove that retraining can improve the population accuracy obtained by initially training with the given (noisy) labels. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first such theoretical result. Retraining finds application in improving training with label differential privacy (DP) which involves training with noisy labels. We empirically show that retraining selectively on the samples for which the predicted label matches the given label significantly improves label DP training at \textit{no extra privacy cost}; we call this \textit{consensus-based retraining}. For e.g., when training ResNet-18 on CIFAR-100 with $\epsilon=3$ label DP, we obtain $6.4\%$ improvement in accuracy with consensus-based retraining.

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Abstract:In this paper, we study the setting in which data owners train machine learning models collaboratively under a privacy notion called joint differential privacy [Kearns et al., 2018]. In this setting, the model trained for each data owner $j$ uses $j$'s data without privacy consideration and other owners' data with differential privacy guarantees. This setting was initiated in [Jain et al., 2021] with a focus on linear regressions. In this paper, we study this setting for stochastic convex optimization (SCO). We present an algorithm that is a variant of DP-SGD [Song et al., 2013; Abadi et al., 2016] and provides theoretical bounds on its population loss. We compare our algorithm to several baselines and discuss for what parameter setups our algorithm is more preferred. We also empirically study joint differential privacy in the multi-class classification problem over two public datasets. Our empirical findings are well-connected to the insights from our theoretical results.

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Abstract:In a typical optimization problem, the task is to pick one of a number of options with the lowest cost or the highest value. In practice, these cost/value quantities often come through processes such as measurement or machine learning, which are noisy, with quantifiable noise distributions. To take these noise distributions into account, one approach is to assume a prior for the values, use it to build a posterior, and then apply standard stochastic optimization to pick a solution. However, in many practical applications, such prior distributions may not be available. In this paper, we study such scenarios using a regret minimization model. In our model, the task is to pick the highest one out of $n$ values. The values are unknown and chosen by an adversary, but can be observed through noisy channels, where additive noises are stochastically drawn from known distributions. The goal is to minimize the regret of our selection, defined as the expected difference between the highest and the selected value on the worst-case choices of values. We show that the na\"ive algorithm of picking the highest observed value has regret arbitrarily worse than the optimum, even when $n = 2$ and the noises are unbiased in expectation. On the other hand, we propose an algorithm which gives a constant-approximation to the optimal regret for any $n$. Our algorithm is conceptually simple, computationally efficient, and requires only minimal knowledge of the noise distributions.

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Abstract:In shuffle privacy, each user sends a collection of randomized messages to a trusted shuffler, the shuffler randomly permutes these messages, and the resulting shuffled collection of messages must satisfy differential privacy. Prior work in this model has largely focused on protocols that use a single round of communication to compute algorithmic primitives like means, histograms, and counts. In this work, we present interactive shuffle protocols for stochastic convex optimization. Our optimization protocols rely on a new noninteractive protocol for summing vectors of bounded $\ell_2$ norm. By combining this sum subroutine with techniques including mini-batch stochastic gradient descent, accelerated gradient descent, and Nesterov's smoothing method, we obtain loss guarantees for a variety of convex loss functions that significantly improve on those of the local model and sometimes match those of the central model.

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Abstract:In the shuffle model of differential privacy, data-holding users send randomized messages to a secure shuffler, the shuffler permutes the messages, and the resulting collection of messages must be differentially private with regard to user data. In the pan-private model, an algorithm processes a stream of data while maintaining an internal state that is differentially private with regard to the stream data. We give evidence connecting these two apparently different models. Our results focus on robustly shuffle private protocols whose privacy guarantees are not greatly affected by malicious users. First, we give robustly shuffle private protocols and upper bounds for counting distinct elements and uniformity testing. Second, we use pan-private lower bounds to prove robustly shuffle private lower bounds for both problems. Focusing on the dependence on the domain size $k$, we find that both robust shuffle privacy and pan-privacy have additive accuracy $\Theta(\sqrt{k})$ for counting distinct elements and sample complexity $\tilde \Theta(k^{2/3})$ for uniformity testing. Both results polynomially separate central privacy and robust shuffle privacy. Finally, we show that this connection is useful in both directions: we give a pan-private adaptation of recent work on shuffle private histograms and use it to recover further separations between pan-privacy and interactive local privacy.

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Abstract:A centrally differentially private algorithm maps raw data to differentially private outputs. In contrast, a locally differentially private algorithm may only access data through public interaction with data holders, and this interaction must be a differentially private function of the data. We study the intermediate model of pan-privacy. Unlike a locally private algorithm, a pan-private algorithm receives data in the clear. Unlike a centrally private algorithm, the algorithm receives data one element at a time and must maintain a differentially private internal state while processing this stream. First, we show that pan-privacy against multiple intrusions on the internal state is equivalent to sequentially interactive local privacy. Next, we contextualize pan-privacy against a single intrusion by analyzing the sample complexity of uniformity testing over domain $[k]$. Focusing on the dependence on $k$, centrally private uniformity testing has sample complexity $\Theta(\sqrt{k})$, while noninteractive locally private uniformity testing has sample complexity $\Theta(k)$. We show that the sample complexity of pan-private uniformity testing is $\Theta(k^{2/3})$. By a new $\Omega(k)$ lower bound for the sequentially interactive setting, we also separate pan-private from sequentially interactive locally private and multi-intrusion pan-private uniformity testing.

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Abstract:We prove a general connection between the communication complexity of two-player games and the sample complexity of their multi-player locally private analogues. We use this connection to prove sample complexity lower bounds for locally differentially private protocols as straightforward corollaries of results from communication complexity. In particular, we 1) use a communication lower bound for the hidden layers problem to prove an exponential sample complexity separation between sequentially and fully interactive locally private protocols, and 2) use a communication lower bound for the pointer chasing problem to prove an exponential sample complexity separation between $k$ round and $k+1$ round sequentially interactive locally private protocols, for every $k$.

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Abstract:We consider the sorted top-$k$ problem whose goal is to recover the top-$k$ items with the correct order out of $n$ items using pairwise comparisons. In many applications, multiple rounds of interaction can be costly. We restrict our attention to algorithms with a constant number of rounds $r$ and try to minimize the sample complexity, i.e. the number of comparisons. When the comparisons are noiseless, we characterize how the optimal sample complexity depends on the number of rounds (up to a polylogarithmic factor for general $r$ and up to a constant factor for $r=1$ or 2). In particular, the sample complexity is $\Theta(n^2)$ for $r=1$, $\Theta(n\sqrt{k} + n^{4/3})$ for $r=2$ and $\tilde{\Theta}\left(n^{2/r} k^{(r-1)/r} + n\right)$ for $r \geq 3$. We extend our results of sorted top-$k$ to the noisy case where each comparison is correct with probability $2/3$. When $r=1$ or 2, we show that the sample complexity gets an extra $\Theta(\log(k))$ factor when we transition from the noiseless case to the noisy case. We also prove new results for top-$k$ and sorting in the noisy case. We believe our techniques can be generally useful for understanding the trade-off between round complexities and sample complexities of rank aggregation problems.

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Abstract:We study the power of interactivity in local differential privacy. First, we focus on the difference between fully interactive and sequentially interactive protocols. Sequentially interactive protocols may query users adaptively in sequence, but they cannot return to previously queried users. The vast majority of existing lower bounds for local differential privacy apply only to sequentially interactive protocols, and before this paper it was not known whether fully interactive protocols were more powerful. We resolve this question. First, we classify locally private protocols by their compositionality, the multiplicative factor $k \geq 1$ by which the sum of a protocol's single-round privacy parameters exceeds its overall privacy guarantee. We then show how to efficiently transform any fully interactive $k$-compositional protocol into an equivalent sequentially interactive protocol with an $O(k)$ blowup in sample complexity. Next, we show that our reduction is tight by exhibiting a family of problems such that for any $k$, there is a fully interactive $k$-compositional protocol which solves the problem, while no sequentially interactive protocol can solve the problem without at least an $\tilde \Omega(k)$ factor more examples. We then turn our attention to hypothesis testing problems. We show that for a large class of compound hypothesis testing problems --- which include all simple hypothesis testing problems as a special case --- a simple noninteractive test is optimal among the class of all (possibly fully interactive) tests.

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Abstract:It is common in recommendation systems that users both consume and produce information as they make strategic choices under uncertainty. While a social planner would balance "exploration" and "exploitation" using a multi-armed bandit algorithm, users' incentives may tilt this balance in favor of exploitation. We consider Bayesian Exploration: a simple model in which the recommendation system (the "principal") controls the information flow to the users (the "agents") and strives to incentivize exploration via information asymmetry. A single round of this model is a version of a well-known "Bayesian Persuasion game" from [Kamenica and Gentzkow]. We allow heterogeneous users, relaxing a major assumption from prior work that users have the same preferences from one time step to another. The goal is now to learn the best personalized recommendations. One particular challenge is that it may be impossible to incentivize some of the user types to take some of the actions, no matter what the principal does or how much time she has. We consider several versions of the model, depending on whether and when the user types are reported to the principal, and design a near-optimal "recommendation policy" for each version. We also investigate how the model choice and the diversity of user types impact the set of actions that can possibly be "explored" by each type.

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