HETAL: Efficient Privacy-preserving Transfer Learning with Homomorphic Encryption
Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 202:19010-19035, 2023.
Transfer learning is a de facto standard method for efficiently training machine learning models for data-scarce problems by adding and fine-tuning new classification layers to a model pre-trained on large datasets. Although numerous previous studies proposed to use homomorphic encryption to resolve the data privacy issue in transfer learning in the machine learning as a service setting, most of them only focused on encrypted inference. In this study, we present HETAL, an efficient Homomorphic Encryption based Transfer Learning algorithm, that protects the client’s privacy in training tasks by encrypting the client data using the CKKS homomorphic encryption scheme. HETAL is the first practical scheme that strictly provides encrypted training, adopting validation-based early stopping and achieving the accuracy of nonencrypted training. We propose an efficient encrypted matrix multiplication algorithm, which is 1.8 to 323 times faster than prior methods, and a highly precise softmax approximation algorithm with increased coverage. The experimental results for five well-known benchmark datasets show total training times of 567–3442 seconds, which is less than an hour.