Data-dependent PAC-Bayes priors via differential privacy

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

Bibtex »Metadata »Paper »Reviews »Supplemental »

Authors

Gintare Karolina Dziugaite, Daniel M. Roy

Abstract

The Probably Approximately Correct (PAC) Bayes framework (McAllester, 1999) can incorporate knowledge about the learning algorithm and (data) distribution through the use of distribution-dependent priors, yielding tighter generalization bounds on data-dependent posteriors. Using this flexibility, however, is difficult, especially when the data distribution is presumed to be unknown. We show how a differentially private data-dependent prior yields a valid PAC-Bayes bound, and then show how non-private mechanisms for choosing priors can also yield generalization bounds. As an application of this result, we show that a Gaussian prior mean chosen via stochastic gradient Langevin dynamics (SGLD; Welling and Teh, 2011) leads to a valid PAC-Bayes bound due to control of the 2-Wasserstein distance to a differentially private stationary distribution. We study our data-dependent bounds empirically, and show that they can be nonvacuous even when other distribution-dependent bounds are vacuous.