Private Isotonic Regression

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Badih Ghazi, Pritish Kamath, Ravi Kumar, Pasin Manurangsi


In this paper, we consider the problem of differentially private (DP) algorithms for isotonic regression. For the most general problem of isotonic regression over a partially ordered set (poset) $\mathcal{X}$ and for any Lipschitz loss function, we obtain a pure-DP algorithm that, given $n$ input points, has an expected excess empirical risk of roughly $\mathrm{width}(\mathcal{X}) \cdot \log|\mathcal{X}| / n$, where $\mathrm{width}(\mathcal{X})$ is the width of the poset. In contrast, we also obtain a near-matching lower bound of roughly $(\mathrm{width}(\mathcal{X}) + \log |\mathcal{X}|) / n$, that holds even for approximate-DP algorithms. Moreover, we show that the above bounds are essentially the best that can be obtained without utilizing any further structure of the poset.In the special case of a totally ordered set and for $\ell_1$ and $\ell_2^2$ losses, our algorithm can be implemented in near-linear running time; we also provide extensions of this algorithm to the problem of private isotonic regression with additional structural constraints on the output function.