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Chulin Xie, Zinan Lin, Arturs Backurs, Sivakanth Gopi, Da Yu, Huseyin A Inan, Harsha Nori, Haotian Jiang, Huishuai Zhang, Yin Tat Lee, Bo Li, Sergey Yekhanin

Text data has become extremely valuable due to the emergence of machine learning algorithms that learn from it. A lot of high-quality text data generated in the real world is private and therefore cannot be shared or used freely due to privacy concerns. Generating synthetic replicas of private text data with a formal privacy guarantee, i.e., differential privacy (DP), offers a promising and scalable solution. However, existing methods necessitate DP finetuning of large language models (LLMs) on private data to generate DP synthetic data. This approach is not viable for proprietary LLMs (e.g., GPT-3.5) and also demands considerable computational resources for open-source LLMs. Lin et al. (2024) recently introduced the Private Evolution (PE) algorithm to generate DP synthetic images with only API access to diffusion models. In this work, we propose an augmented PE algorithm, named Aug-PE, that applies to the complex setting of text. We use API access to an LLM and generate DP synthetic text without any model training. We conduct comprehensive experiments on three benchmark datasets. Our results demonstrate that Aug-PE produces DP synthetic text that yields competitive utility with the SOTA DP finetuning baselines. This underscores the feasibility of relying solely on API access of LLMs to produce high-quality DP synthetic texts, thereby facilitating more accessible routes to privacy-preserving LLM applications. Our code and data are available at https://github.com/AI-secure/aug-pe.

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Xinyu Tang, Richard Shin, Huseyin A. Inan, Andre Manoel, Fatemehsadat Mireshghallah, Zinan Lin, Sivakanth Gopi, Janardhan Kulkarni, Robert Sim

We study the problem of in-context learning (ICL) with large language models (LLMs) on private datasets. This scenario poses privacy risks, as LLMs may leak or regurgitate the private examples demonstrated in the prompt. We propose a novel algorithm that generates synthetic few-shot demonstrations from the private dataset with formal differential privacy (DP) guarantees, and show empirically that it can achieve effective ICL. We conduct extensive experiments on standard benchmarks and compare our algorithm with non-private ICL and zero-shot solutions. Our results demonstrate that our algorithm can achieve competitive performance with strong privacy levels. These results open up new possibilities for ICL with privacy protection for a broad range of applications.

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Suriya Gunasekar, Yi Zhang, Jyoti Aneja, Caio César Teodoro Mendes, Allie Del Giorno, Sivakanth Gopi, Mojan Javaheripi, Piero Kauffmann, Gustavo de Rosa, Olli Saarikivi, Adil Salim, Shital Shah, Harkirat Singh Behl, Xin Wang, Sébastien Bubeck, Ronen Eldan, Adam Tauman Kalai, Yin Tat Lee, Yuanzhi Li

We introduce phi-1, a new large language model for code, with significantly smaller size than competing models: phi-1 is a Transformer-based model with 1.3B parameters, trained for 4 days on 8 A100s, using a selection of ``textbook quality" data from the web (6B tokens) and synthetically generated textbooks and exercises with GPT-3.5 (1B tokens). Despite this small scale, phi-1 attains pass@1 accuracy 50.6% on HumanEval and 55.5% on MBPP. It also displays surprising emergent properties compared to phi-1-base, our model before our finetuning stage on a dataset of coding exercises, and phi-1-small, a smaller model with 350M parameters trained with the same pipeline as phi-1 that still achieves 45% on HumanEval.

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Zinan Lin, Sivakanth Gopi, Janardhan Kulkarni, Harsha Nori, Sergey Yekhanin

Generating differentially private (DP) synthetic data that closely resembles the original private data without leaking sensitive user information is a scalable way to mitigate privacy concerns in the current data-driven world. In contrast to current practices that train customized models for this task, we aim to generate DP Synthetic Data via APIs (DPSDA), where we treat foundation models as blackboxes and only utilize their inference APIs. Such API-based, training-free approaches are easier to deploy as exemplified by the recent surge in the number of API-based apps. These approaches can also leverage the power of large foundation models which are accessible via their inference APIs while the model weights are unreleased. However, this comes with greater challenges due to strictly more restrictive model access and the additional need to protect privacy from the API provider. In this paper, we present a new framework called Private Evolution (PE) to solve this problem and show its initial promise on synthetic images. Surprisingly, PE can match or even outperform state-of-the-art (SOTA) methods without any model training. For example, on CIFAR10 (with ImageNet as the public data), we achieve FID<=7.9 with privacy cost epsilon=0.67, significantly improving the previous SOTA from epsilon=32. We further demonstrate the promise of applying PE on large foundation models such as Stable Diffusion to tackle challenging private datasets with a small number of high-resolution images.

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Da Yu, Sivakanth Gopi, Janardhan Kulkarni, Zinan Lin, Saurabh Naik, Tomasz Lukasz Religa, Jian Yin, Huishuai Zhang

Suppose we want to train text prediction models in email clients or word processors. The models must preserve the privacy of user data and adhere to a specific fixed size to meet memory and inference time requirements. We introduce a generic framework to solve this problem. Specifically, we are given a public dataset $D_\text{pub}$ and a private dataset $D_\text{priv}$ corresponding to a downstream task $T$. How should we pre-train a fixed-size model $M$ on $D_\text{pub}$ and fine-tune it on $D_\text{priv}$ such that performance of $M$ with respect to $T$ is maximized and $M$ satisfies differential privacy with respect to $D_\text{priv}$? We show that pre-training on a {\em subset} of dataset $D_\text{pub}$ that brings the public distribution closer to the private distribution is a crucial ingredient to maximize the transfer learning abilities of $M$ after pre-training, especially in the regimes where model sizes are relatively small. Besides performance improvements, our framework also shows that with careful pre-training and private fine-tuning, {\em smaller models} can match the performance of much larger models, highlighting the promise of differentially private training as a tool for model compression and efficiency.

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Sivakanth Gopi, Yin Tat Lee, Daogao Liu, Ruoqi Shen, Kevin Tian

The development of efficient sampling algorithms catering to non-Euclidean geometries has been a challenging endeavor, as discretization techniques which succeed in the Euclidean setting do not readily carry over to more general settings. We develop a non-Euclidean analog of the recent proximal sampler of [LST21], which naturally induces regularization by an object known as the log-Laplace transform (LLT) of a density. We prove new mathematical properties (with an algorithmic flavor) of the LLT, such as strong convexity-smoothness duality and an isoperimetric inequality, which are used to prove a mixing time on our proximal sampler matching [LST21] under a warm start. As our main application, we show our warm-started sampler improves the value oracle complexity of differentially private convex optimization in $\ell_p$ and Schatten-$p$ norms for $p \in [1, 2]$ to match the Euclidean setting [GLL22], while retaining state-of-the-art excess risk bounds [GLLST23]. We find our investigation of the LLT to be a promising proof-of-concept of its utility as a tool for designing samplers, and outline directions for future exploration.

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Sivakanth Gopi, Yin Tat Lee, Daogao Liu, Ruoqi Shen, Kevin Tian

We propose a new framework for differentially private optimization of convex functions which are Lipschitz in an arbitrary norm $\normx{\cdot}$. Our algorithms are based on a regularized exponential mechanism which samples from the density $\propto \exp(-k(F+\mu r))$ where $F$ is the empirical loss and $r$ is a regularizer which is strongly convex with respect to $\normx{\cdot}$, generalizing a recent work of \cite{GLL22} to non-Euclidean settings. We show that this mechanism satisfies Gaussian differential privacy and solves both DP-ERM (empirical risk minimization) and DP-SCO (stochastic convex optimization), by using localization tools from convex geometry. Our framework is the first to apply to private convex optimization in general normed spaces, and directly recovers non-private SCO rates achieved by mirror descent, as the privacy parameter $\eps \to \infty$. As applications, for Lipschitz optimization in $\ell_p$ norms for all $p \in (1, 2)$, we obtain the first optimal privacy-utility tradeoffs; for $p = 1$, we improve tradeoffs obtained by the recent works \cite{AsiFKT21, BassilyGN21} by at least a logarithmic factor. Our $\ell_p$ norm and Schatten-$p$ norm optimization frameworks are complemented with polynomial-time samplers whose query complexity we explicitly bound.

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Sivakanth Gopi, Yin Tat Lee, Daogao Liu

In this paper, we study private optimization problems for non-smooth convex functions $F(x)=\mathbb{E}_i f_i(x)$ on $\mathbb{R}^d$. We show that modifying the exponential mechanism by adding an $\ell_2^2$ regularizer to $F(x)$ and sampling from $\pi(x)\propto \exp(-k(F(x)+\mu\|x\|_2^2/2))$ recovers both the known optimal empirical risk and population loss under $(\epsilon,\delta)$-DP. Furthermore, we show how to implement this mechanism using $\widetilde{O}(n \min(d, n))$ queries to $f_i(x)$ for the DP-SCO where $n$ is the number of samples/users and $d$ is the ambient dimension. We also give a (nearly) matching lower bound $\widetilde{\Omega}(n \min(d, n))$ on the number of evaluation queries. Our results utilize the following tools that are of independent interest: (1) We prove Gaussian Differential Privacy (GDP) of the exponential mechanism if the loss function is strongly convex and the perturbation is Lipschitz. Our privacy bound is \emph{optimal} as it includes the privacy of Gaussian mechanism as a special case and is proved using the isoperimetric inequality for strongly log-concave measures. (2) We show how to sample from $\exp(-F(x)-\mu \|x\|^2_2/2)$ for $G$-Lipschitz $F$ with $\eta$ error in total variation (TV) distance using $\widetilde{O}((G^2/\mu) \log^2(d/\eta))$ unbiased queries to $F(x)$. This is the first sampler whose query complexity has \emph{polylogarithmic dependence} on both dimension $d$ and accuracy $\eta$.

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Da Yu, Saurabh Naik, Arturs Backurs, Sivakanth Gopi, Huseyin A. Inan, Gautam Kamath, Janardhan Kulkarni, Yin Tat Lee, Andre Manoel, Lukas Wutschitz, Sergey Yekhanin, Huishuai Zhang

We give simpler, sparser, and faster algorithms for differentially private fine-tuning of large-scale pre-trained language models, which achieve the state-of-the-art privacy versus utility tradeoffs on many standard NLP tasks. We propose a meta-framework for this problem, inspired by the recent success of highly parameter-efficient methods for fine-tuning. Our experiments show that differentially private adaptations of these approaches outperform previous private algorithms in three important dimensions: utility, privacy, and the computational and memory cost of private training. On many commonly studied datasets, the utility of private models approaches that of non-private models. For example, on the MNLI dataset we achieve an accuracy of $87.8\%$ using RoBERTa-Large and $83.5\%$ using RoBERTa-Base with a privacy budget of $\epsilon = 6.7$. In comparison, absent privacy constraints, RoBERTa-Large achieves an accuracy of $90.2\%$. Our findings are similar for natural language generation tasks. Privately fine-tuning with DART, GPT-2-Small, GPT-2-Medium, GPT-2-Large, and GPT-2-XL achieve BLEU scores of 38.5, 42.0, 43.1, and 43.8 respectively (privacy budget of $\epsilon = 6.8,\delta=$ 1e-5) whereas the non-private baseline is $48.1$. All our experiments suggest that larger models are better suited for private fine-tuning: while they are well known to achieve superior accuracy non-privately, we find that they also better maintain their accuracy when privacy is introduced.

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