Bassily, Raef, Thakurta, Abhradeep Guha, Thakkar, Om Dipakbhai

We design differentially private learning algorithms that are agnostic to the learning model assuming access to limited amount of unlabeled public data. First, we give a new differentially private algorithm for answering a sequence of $m$ online classification queries (given by a sequence of $m$ unlabeled public feature vectors) based on a private training set. Our private algorithm follows the paradigm of subsample-and-aggregate, in which any generic non-private learner is trained on disjoint subsets of the private training set, then for each classification query, the votes of the resulting classifiers ensemble are aggregated in a differentially private fashion. Our private aggregation is based on a novel combination of distance-to-instability framework [Smith & Thakurta 2013] and the sparse-vector technique [Dwork et al. 2009, Hardt & Talwar 2010]. We show that our algorithm makes a conservative use of the privacy budget. In particular, if the underlying non-private learner yields classification error at most $\alpha\in (0, 1)$, then our construction answers more queries, by at least a factor of $1/\alpha$ in some cases, than what is implied by a straightforward application of the advanced composition theorem for differential privacy. Next, we apply the knowledge transfer technique to construct a private learner that outputs a classifier, which can be used to answer unlimited number of queries. In the PAC model, we analyze our construction and prove upper bounds on the sample complexity for both the realizable and the non-realizable cases. As in non-private sample complexity, our bounds are completely characterized by the VC dimension of the concept class.

Bassily, Raef, Moran, Shay, Nachum, Ido, Shafer, Jonathan, Yehudayoff, Amir

We study learning algorithms that are restricted to using a small amount of information from their input sample. We introduce a category of learning algorithms we term d-bit information learners, which are algorithms whose output conveys at most d bits of information on their input. A central theme in this work is that such algorithms generalize. We focus on the learning capacity of these algorithms, and prove sample complexity bounds with tight dependencies on the confidence and error parameters. We also observe connections with well studied notions such as sample compression schemes, Occam's razor, PAC-Bayes and differential privacy. We discuss an approach that allows us to prove upper bounds on the amount of information that algorithms reveal about their inputs, and also provide a lower bound by showing a simple concept class for which every (possibly randomized) empirical risk minimizer must reveal a lot of information. On the other hand, we show that in the distribution-dependent setting every VC class has empirical risk minimizers that do not reveal a lot of information.

Semi-supervised learning is a setting in which one has labeled and unlabeled data available. In this survey we explore different types of theoretical results when one uses unlabeled data in classification and regression tasks. Most methods that use unlabeled data rely on certain assumptions about the data distribution. When those assumptions are not met in reality, including unlabeled data may actually decrease performance. Studying such methods, it therefore is particularly important to have an understanding of the underlying theory. In this review we gather results about the possible gains one can achieve when using semi-supervised learning as well as results about the limits of such methods. More precisely, this review collects the answers to the following questions: What are, in terms of improving supervised methods, the limits of semi-supervised learning? What are the assumptions of different methods? What can we achieve if the assumptions are true? Finally, we also discuss the biggest bottleneck of semi-supervised learning, namely the assumptions they make.

Bassily, Raef, Thakkar, Om, Thakurta, Abhradeep Guha

We design differentially private learning algorithms that are agnostic to the learning model assuming access to limited amount of unlabeled public data. First, we give a new differentially private algorithm for answering a sequence of $m$ online classification queries (given by a sequence of $m$ unlabeled public feature vectors) based on a private training set. Our private algorithm follows the paradigm of subsample-and-aggregate, in which any generic non-private learner is trained on disjoint subsets of the private training set, then for each classification query, the votes of the resulting classifiers ensemble are aggregated in a differentially private fashion. We show that our algorithm makes a conservative use of the privacy budget. In particular, if the underlying non-private learner yields classification error at most $\alpha\in (0, 1)$, then our construction answers more queries, by at least a factor of $1/\alpha$ in some cases, than what is implied by a straightforward application of the advanced composition theorem for differential privacy.

Bassily, Raef, Thakurta, Abhradeep Guha, Thakkar, Om Dipakbhai

We design differentially private learning algorithms that are agnostic to the learning model assuming access to a limited amount of unlabeled public data. First, we provide a new differentially private algorithm for answering a sequence of m online classification queries (given by a sequence of m unlabeled public feature vectors) based on a private training set. Our algorithm follows the paradigm of subsample-and-aggregate, in which any generic non-private learner is trained on disjoint subsets of the private training set, and then for each classification query, the votes of the resulting classifiers ensemble are aggregated in a differentially private fashion. Our private aggregation is based on a novel combination of the distance-to-instability framework [26], and the sparse-vector technique [15, 18]. We show that our algorithm makes a conservative use of the privacy budget. In particular, if the underlying non-private learner yields a classification error of at most α (0, 1), then our construction answers more queries, by at least a factor of 1/α in some cases, than what is implied by a straightforward application of the advanced composition theorem for differential privacy. Next, we apply the knowledge transfer technique to construct a private learner that outputs a classifier, which can be used to answer an unlimited number of queries. In the PAC model, we analyze our construction and prove upper bounds on the sample complexity for both the realizable and the non-realizable cases. Similar to non-private sample complexity, our bounds are completely characterized by the VC dimension of the concept class.