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# Faster Rates of Convergence to Stationary Points in Differentially Private Optimization

*Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 202:1060-1092, 2023.

#### Abstract

We study the problem of approximating stationary points of Lipschitz and smooth functions under $(\varepsilon,\delta)$-differential privacy (DP) in both the finite-sum and stochastic settings. A point $\widehat{w}$ is called an $\alpha$-stationary point of a function $F:\mathbb{R}^d\rightarrow\mathbb{R}$ if $\|\nabla F(\widehat{w})\|\leq \alpha$. We give a new construction that improves over the existing rates in the stochastic optimization setting, where the goal is to find approximate stationary points of the population risk given $n$ samples. Our construction finds a $\tilde{O}\big(\frac{1}{n^{1/3}} + \big[\frac{\sqrt{d}}{n\varepsilon}\big]^{1/2}\big)$-stationary point of the population risk in time linear in $n$. We also provide an efficient algorithm that finds an $\tilde{O}\big(\big[\frac{\sqrt{d}}{n\varepsilon}\big]^{2/3}\big)$-stationary point in the finite-sum setting. This improves on the previous best rate of $\tilde{O}\big(\big[\frac{\sqrt{d}}{n\varepsilon}\big]^{1/2}\big)$. Furthermore, under the additional assumption of convexity, we completely characterize the sample complexity of finding stationary points of the population risk (up to polylog factors) and show that the optimal rate on population stationarity is $\tilde \Theta\big(\frac{1}{\sqrt{n}}+\frac{\sqrt{d}}{n\varepsilon}\big)$. Finally, we show that our methods can be used to provide dimension-independent rates of $O\big(\frac{1}{\sqrt{n}}+\min\big(\big[\frac{\sqrt{rank}}{n\varepsilon}\big]^{2/3},\frac{1}{(n\varepsilon)^{2/5}}\big)\big)$ on population stationarity for Generalized Linear Models (GLM), where $rank$ is the rank of the design matrix, which improves upon the previous best known rate.