Private Non-smooth ERM and SCO in Subquadratic Steps

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Janardhan Kulkarni, Yin Tat Lee, Daogao Liu


We study the differentially private Empirical Risk Minimization (ERM) and Stochastic Convex Optimization (SCO) problems for non-smooth convex functions. We get a (nearly) optimal bound on the excess empirical risk for ERM with $O(\frac{N^{3/2}}{d^{1/8}}+ \frac{N^2}{d})$ gradient queries, which is achieved with the help of subsampling and smoothing the function via convolution. Combining this result with the iterative localization technique of Feldman et al. \cite{fkt20}, we achieve the optimal excess population loss for the SCO problem with $O(\min\{N^{5/4}d^{1/8},\frac{ N^{3/2}}{d^{1/8}}\})$ gradient queries.Our work makes progress towards resolving a question raised by Bassily et al. \cite{bfgt20}, giving first algorithms for private SCO with subquadratic steps. In a concurrent work, Asi et al. \cite{afkt21} gave other algorithms for private ERM and SCO with subquadratic steps.