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Multi-Task Differential Privacy Under Distribution Skew

Walid Krichene · Prateek Jain · Shuang Song · Mukund Sundararajan · Abhradeep Guha Thakurta · Li Zhang

Exhibit Hall 1 #532
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We study the problem of multi-task learning under user-level differential privacy, in which n users contribute data to m tasks, each involving a subset of users. One important aspect of the problem, that can significantly impact quality, is the distribution skew among tasks. Tasks that have much fewer data samples than others are more susceptible to the noise added for privacy. It is natural to ask whether algorithms can adapt to this skew to improve the overall utility. We give a systematic analysis of the problem, by studying how to optimally allocate a user's privacy budget among tasks. We propose a generic algorithm, based on an adaptive reweighting of the empirical loss, and show that in the presence of distribution skew, this gives a quantifiable improvement of excess empirical risk. Experimental studies on recommendation problems that exhibit a long tail of small tasks, demonstrate that our methods significantly improve utility, achieving the state of the art on two standard benchmarks.

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