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Oneshot Differentially Private Top-k Selection
Gang Qiao · Weijie Su · Li Zhang

Thu Jul 22 09:00 PM -- 11:00 PM (PDT) @
Being able to efficiently and accurately select the top-$k$ elements with differential privacy is an integral component of various private data analysis tasks. In this paper, we present the oneshot Laplace mechanism, which generalizes the well-known Report Noisy Max~\cite{dwork2014algorithmic} mechanism to reporting noisy top-$k$ elements. We show that the oneshot Laplace mechanism with a noise level of $\widetilde{O}(\sqrt{k}/\eps)$ is approximately differentially private. Compared to the previous peeling approach of running Report Noisy Max $k$ times, the oneshot Laplace mechanism only adds noises and computes the top $k$ elements once, hence much more efficient for large $k$. In addition, our proof of privacy relies on a novel coupling technique that bypasses the composition theorems so without the linear dependence on $k$ which is inherent to various composition theorems. Finally, we present a novel application of efficient top-$k$ selection in the classical problem of ranking from pairwise comparisons.

Author Information

Gang Qiao (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
Weijie Su (University of Pennsylvania)
Li Zhang (Google)

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