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Programmable Synthetic Tabular Data Generation
Mark Vero · Mislav Balunovic · Martin Vechev

Large amounts of tabular data remain underutilized due to privacy, data quality, and data sharing limitations. While training a generative model producing synthetic data resembling the original distribution addresses some of these issues, most applications require additional constraints from the generated data. Existing synthetic data approaches are limited as they typically only handle specific constraints, e.g., differential privacy (DP) or increased fairness, and lack an accessible interface for declaring general specifications. In this work, we introduce ProgSyn, the first programmable synthetic tabular data generation algorithm that allows for comprehensive customization over the generated data. To ensure high data quality while adhering to custom specifications, ProgSyn pre-trains a generative model on the original dataset and fine-tunes it on a differentiable loss automatically derived from the provided specifications. These can be programmatically declared using statistical and logical expressions, supporting a wide range of requirements (e.g., DP or fairness, among others). We conduct an extensive experimental evaluation of ProgSyn on a number of constraints, achieving a new state-of-the-art on some, while remaining general. For instance, at the same fairness level we achieve 2.3% higher downstream accuracy than the state-of-the-art in fair synthetic data generation on the Adult dataset. Overall, ProgSyn provides a versatile and accessible framework for generating constrained synthetic tabular data, allowing for specifications that generalize beyond the capabilities of prior work.

Author Information

Mark Vero (ETH Zurich)
Mislav Balunovic (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)
Martin Vechev (ETH Zurich)

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