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Tal Wagner, Yonatan Naamad, Nina Mishra

We study efficient mechanisms for differentially private kernel density estimation (DP-KDE). Prior work for the Gaussian kernel described algorithms that run in time exponential in the number of dimensions $d$. This paper breaks the exponential barrier, and shows how the KDE can privately be approximated in time linear in $d$, making it feasible for high-dimensional data. We also present improved bounds for low-dimensional data. Our results are obtained through a general framework, which we term Locality Sensitive Quantization (LSQ), for constructing private KDE mechanisms where existing KDE approximation techniques can be applied. It lets us leverage several efficient non-private KDE methods -- like Random Fourier Features, the Fast Gauss Transform, and Locality Sensitive Hashing -- and ``privatize'' them in a black-box manner. Our experiments demonstrate that our resulting DP-KDE mechanisms are fast and accurate on large datasets in both high and low dimensions.

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Nicholas Schiefer, Justin Y. Chen, Piotr Indyk, Shyam Narayanan, Sandeep Silwal, Tal Wagner

An $\varepsilon$-approximate quantile sketch over a stream of $n$ inputs approximates the rank of any query point $q$ - that is, the number of input points less than $q$ - up to an additive error of $\varepsilon n$, generally with some probability of at least $1 - 1/\mathrm{poly}(n)$, while consuming $o(n)$ space. While the celebrated KLL sketch of Karnin, Lang, and Liberty achieves a provably optimal quantile approximation algorithm over worst-case streams, the approximations it achieves in practice are often far from optimal. Indeed, the most commonly used technique in practice is Dunning's t-digest, which often achieves much better approximations than KLL on real-world data but is known to have arbitrarily large errors in the worst case. We apply interpolation techniques to the streaming quantiles problem to attempt to achieve better approximations on real-world data sets than KLL while maintaining similar guarantees in the worst case.

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Anders Aamand, Justin Y. Chen, Piotr Indyk, Shyam Narayanan, Ronitt Rubinfeld, Nicholas Schiefer, Sandeep Silwal, Tal Wagner

Recent work shows that the expressive power of Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) in distinguishing non-isomorphic graphs is exactly the same as that of the Weisfeiler-Lehman (WL) graph test. In particular, they show that the WL test can be simulated by GNNs. However, those simulations involve neural networks for the 'combine' function of size polynomial or even exponential in the number of graph nodes $n$, as well as feature vectors of length linear in $n$. We present an improved simulation of the WL test on GNNs with \emph{exponentially} lower complexity. In particular, the neural network implementing the combine function in each node has only a polylogarithmic number of parameters in $n$, and the feature vectors exchanged by the nodes of GNN consists of only $O(\log n)$ bits. We also give logarithmic lower bounds for the feature vector length and the size of the neural networks, showing the (near)-optimality of our construction.

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David Alvarez-Melis, Nicolò Fusi, Lester Mackey, Tal Wagner

Optimal Transport (OT) is a fundamental tool for comparing probability distributions, but its exact computation remains prohibitive for large datasets. In this work, we introduce novel families of upper and lower bounds for the OT problem constructed by aggregating solutions of mini-batch OT problems. The upper bound family contains traditional mini-batch averaging at one extreme and a tight bound found by optimal coupling of mini-batches at the other. In between these extremes, we propose various methods to construct bounds based on a fixed computational budget. Through various experiments, we explore the trade-off between computational budget and bound tightness and show the usefulness of these bounds in computer vision applications.

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Peter Bartlett, Piotr Indyk, Tal Wagner

Data-driven algorithms can adapt their internal structure or parameters to inputs from unknown application-specific distributions, by learning from a training sample of inputs. Several recent works have applied this approach to problems in numerical linear algebra, obtaining significant empirical gains in performance. However, no theoretical explanation for their success was known. In this work we prove generalization bounds for those algorithms, within the PAC-learning framework for data-driven algorithm selection proposed by Gupta and Roughgarden (SICOMP 2017). Our main results are closely matching upper and lower bounds on the fat shattering dimension of the learning-based low rank approximation algorithm of Indyk et al.~(NeurIPS 2019). Our techniques are general, and provide generalization bounds for many other recently proposed data-driven algorithms in numerical linear algebra, covering both sketching-based and multigrid-based methods. This considerably broadens the class of data-driven algorithms for which a PAC-learning analysis is available.

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Yi Zhang, Arturs Backurs, Sébastien Bubeck, Ronen Eldan, Suriya Gunasekar, Tal Wagner

We propose a synthetic task, LEGO (Learning Equality and Group Operations), that encapsulates the problem of following a chain of reasoning, and we study how the transformer architecture learns this task. We pay special attention to data effects such as pretraining (on seemingly unrelated NLP tasks) and dataset composition (e.g., differing chain length at training and test time), as well as architectural variants such as weight-tied layers or adding convolutional components. We study how the trained models eventually succeed at the task, and in particular, we are able to understand (to some extent) some of the attention heads as well as how the information flows in the network. Based on these observations we propose a hypothesis that here pretraining helps merely due to being a smart initialization rather than some deep knowledge stored in the network. We also observe that in some data regime the trained transformer finds "shortcut" solutions to follow the chain of reasoning, which impedes the model's ability to generalize to simple variants of the main task, and moreover we find that one can prevent such shortcut with appropriate architecture modification or careful data preparation. Motivated by our findings, we begin to explore the task of learning to execute C programs, where a convolutional modification to transformers, namely adding convolutional structures in the key/query/value maps, shows an encouraging edge.

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Justin Y. Chen, Talya Eden, Piotr Indyk, Honghao Lin, Shyam Narayanan, Ronitt Rubinfeld, Sandeep Silwal, Tal Wagner, David P. Woodruff, Michael Zhang

We propose data-driven one-pass streaming algorithms for estimating the number of triangles and four cycles, two fundamental problems in graph analytics that are widely studied in the graph data stream literature. Recently, (Hsu 2018) and (Jiang 2020) applied machine learning techniques in other data stream problems, using a trained oracle that can predict certain properties of the stream elements to improve on prior "classical" algorithms that did not use oracles. In this paper, we explore the power of a "heavy edge" oracle in multiple graph edge streaming models. In the adjacency list model, we present a one-pass triangle counting algorithm improving upon the previous space upper bounds without such an oracle. In the arbitrary order model, we present algorithms for both triangle and four cycle estimation with fewer passes and the same space complexity as in previous algorithms, and we show several of these bounds are optimal. We analyze our algorithms under several noise models, showing that the algorithms perform well even when the oracle errs. Our methodology expands upon prior work on "classical" streaming algorithms, as previous multi-pass and random order streaming algorithms can be seen as special cases of our algorithms, where the first pass or random order was used to implement the heavy edge oracle. Lastly, our experiments demonstrate advantages of the proposed method compared to state-of-the-art streaming algorithms.

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Talya Eden, Piotr Indyk, Shyam Narayanan, Ronitt Rubinfeld, Sandeep Silwal, Tal Wagner

We consider the problem of estimating the number of distinct elements in a large data set (or, equivalently, the support size of the distribution induced by the data set) from a random sample of its elements. The problem occurs in many applications, including biology, genomics, computer systems and linguistics. A line of research spanning the last decade resulted in algorithms that estimate the support up to $ \pm \varepsilon n$ from a sample of size $O(\log^2(1/\varepsilon) \cdot n/\log n)$, where $n$ is the data set size. Unfortunately, this bound is known to be tight, limiting further improvements to the complexity of this problem. In this paper we consider estimation algorithms augmented with a machine-learning-based predictor that, given any element, returns an estimation of its frequency. We show that if the predictor is correct up to a constant approximation factor, then the sample complexity can be reduced significantly, to \[ \ \log (1/\varepsilon) \cdot n^{1-\Theta(1/\log(1/\varepsilon))}. \] We evaluate the proposed algorithms on a collection of data sets, using the neural-network based estimators from {Hsu et al, ICLR'19} as predictors. Our experiments demonstrate substantial (up to 3x) improvements in the estimation accuracy compared to the state of the art algorithm.

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Arturs Backurs, Piotr Indyk, Cameron Musco, Tal Wagner

We study fast algorithms for computing fundamental properties of a positive semidefinite kernel matrix $K \in \mathbb{R}^{n \times n}$ corresponding to $n$ points $x_1,\ldots,x_n \in \mathbb{R}^d$. In particular, we consider estimating the sum of kernel matrix entries, along with its top eigenvalue and eigenvector. We show that the sum of matrix entries can be estimated to $1+\epsilon$ relative error in time $sublinear$ in $n$ and linear in $d$ for many popular kernels, including the Gaussian, exponential, and rational quadratic kernels. For these kernels, we also show that the top eigenvalue (and an approximate eigenvector) can be approximated to $1+\epsilon$ relative error in time $subquadratic$ in $n$ and linear in $d$. Our algorithms represent significant advances in the best known runtimes for these problems. They leverage the positive definiteness of the kernel matrix, along with a recent line of work on efficient kernel density estimation.

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Piotr Indyk, Ali Vakilian, Tal Wagner, David Woodruff

A distance matrix $A \in \mathbb R^{n \times m}$ represents all pairwise distances, $A_{ij}=\mathrm{d}(x_i,y_j)$, between two point sets $x_1,...,x_n$ and $y_1,...,y_m$ in an arbitrary metric space $(\mathcal Z, \mathrm{d})$. Such matrices arise in various computational contexts such as learning image manifolds, handwriting recognition, and multi-dimensional unfolding. In this work we study algorithms for low-rank approximation of distance matrices. Recent work by Bakshi and Woodruff (NeurIPS 2018) showed it is possible to compute a rank-$k$ approximation of a distance matrix in time $O((n+m)^{1+\gamma}) \cdot \mathrm{poly}(k,1/\epsilon)$, where $\epsilon>0$ is an error parameter and $\gamma>0$ is an arbitrarily small constant. Notably, their bound is sublinear in the matrix size, which is unachievable for general matrices. We present an algorithm that is both simpler and more efficient. It reads only $O((n+m) k/\epsilon)$ entries of the input matrix, and has a running time of $O(n+m) \cdot \mathrm{poly}(k,1/\epsilon)$. We complement the sample complexity of our algorithm with a matching lower bound on the number of entries that must be read by any algorithm. We provide experimental results to validate the approximation quality and running time of our algorithm.

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