Oracle Efficient Private Non-Convex Optimization

Jul 12, 2020



One of the most effective algorithms for differentially private learning and optimization is objective perturbation. This technique augments a given optimization problem (e.g. deriving from an ERM problem) with a random linear term, and then exactly solves it. However, to date, analyses of this approach crucially rely on the convexity and smoothness of the objective function. We give two algorithms that extend this approach substantially. The first algorithm requires nothing except boundedness of the loss function, and operates over a discrete domain. Its privacy and accuracy guarantees hold even without assuming convexity. We are able to extend traditional analyses of objective perturbation by introducing a novel “normalization“ step into the algorithm, which provides enough stability to be differentially private even without second-order conditions. The second algorithm operates over a continuous domain and requires only that the loss function be bounded and Lipschitz in its continuous parameter. Its privacy analysis does not even require convexity. Its accuracy analysis does require convexity, but does not require second order conditions like smoothness. We complement our theoretical results with an empirical evaluation of the non-convex case, in which we use an integer program solver as our optimization oracle. We find that for the problem of learning linear classifiers, directly optimizing for 0/1 loss using our approach can out-perform the more standard approach of privately optimizing a convex-surrogate loss function on the Adult dataset.



About ICML 2020

The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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