June 19, 2021


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Polynomial magic! Hermite polynomials for private data generation. (arXiv:2106.05042v1 [cs.LG])

Kernel mean embedding is a useful tool to compare probability measures.
Despite its usefulness, kernel mean embedding considers infinite-dimensional
features, which are challenging to handle in the context of differentially
private data generation. A recent work proposes to approximate the kernel mean
embedding of data distribution using finite-dimensional random features, where
the sensitivity of the features becomes analytically tractable. More
importantly, this approach significantly reduces the privacy cost, compared to
other known privatization methods (e.g., DP-SGD), as the approximate kernel
mean embedding of the data distribution is privatized only once and can then be
repeatedly used during training of a generator without incurring any further
privacy cost. However, the required number of random features is excessively
high, often ten thousand to a hundred thousand, which worsens the sensitivity
of the approximate kernel mean embedding. To improve the sensitivity, we
propose to replace random features with Hermite polynomial features. Unlike the
random features, the Hermite polynomial features are ordered, where the
features at the low orders contain more information on the distribution than
those at the high orders. Hence, a relatively low order of Hermite polynomial
features can more accurately approximate the mean embedding of the data
distribution compared to a significantly higher number of random features. As a
result, using the Hermite polynomial features, we significantly improve the
privacy-accuracy trade-off, reflected in the high quality and diversity of the
generated data, when tested on several heterogeneous tabular datasets, as well
as several image benchmark datasets.