On Connecting Stochastic Gradient MCMC and Differential Privacy

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Bai Li, Changyou Chen, Hao Liu, Lawrence Carin ;
Proceedings of Machine Learning Research, PMLR 89:557-566, 2019.

Abstract

Concerns related to data security and confidentiality have been raised when applying machine learning to real-world applications. Differential privacy provides a principled and rigorous privacy guarantee for machine learning models. While it is common to inject noise to design a model satisfying a required differential-privacy property, it is generally hard to balance the trade-off between privacy and utility. We show that stochastic gradient Markov chain Monte Carlo (SG-MCMC) – a class of scalable Bayesian posterior sampling algorithms – satisfies strong differential privacy, when carefully chosen stepsizes are employed. We develop theory on the performance of the proposed differentially-private SG-MCMC method. We conduct experiments to support our analysis, and show that a standard SG-MCMC sampler with minor modification can reach state-of-the-art performance in terms of both privacy and utility on Bayesian learning.

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