LSV Seminar

The LSV seminar takes place on Tuesday at 11:00 AM. The usual location is the conference room at Pavillon des Jardins (venue). If you wish to be informed by e-mail about upcoming seminars, please contact Stéphane Le Roux and Matthias Fuegger.

The seminar is open to public and does not require any form of registration.

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Proving Differential Privacy via Probabilistic Couplings

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 Pierre-Yves Strub
Tuesday, November 22 2016 at 11:00AM
Salle de Conférence (Pavillon des Jardins)
Pierre-Yves Strub (LIX, Ecole Polytechnique)

Differential privacy is a promising formal approach to data privacy, which provides a quantitative bound on the privacy cost of an algorithm that operates on sensitive information. Several tools have been developed for the formal verification of differentially private algorithms, including program logics and type systems. However, these tools do not capture fundamental techniques that have emerged in recent years, and cannot be used for reasoning about cutting-edge differentially private algorithms. Existing techniques fail to handle three broad classes of algorithms: 1) algorithms where privacy de- pends on accuracy guarantees, 2) algorithms that are analyzed with the advanced composition theorem, which shows slower growth in the privacy cost, 3) algorithms that interactively accept adaptive inputs.

In this presentation, I will develop compositional methods for formally verifying differential privacy for algorithms whose analysis goes beyond the composition theorem. The methods are based on the observation that differential privacy has deep connections with a generalization of probabilistic couplings, an established mathematical tool for reasoning about stochastic processes. Even when the composition theorem is not helpful, we can often prove privacy by a coupling argument.

I will illustrate this approach through a single running example, which exemplifies the three classes of algorithms and explores new variants of the Sparse Vector technique, a well-studied algorithm from the privacy literature.

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