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Daniel Ramage

Daniel Ramage

Daniel has been at Google since 2011 focusing on federated learning and privacy technologies. Additional publications available on Google Scholar.
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    Preview abstract Building privacy-preserving systems for machine learning and data science on decentralized data View details
    Preview abstract To improve real-world applications of machine learning, experienced modelers develop intuition about their datasets, their models, and how the two interact. Manual inspection of raw data—of representative samples, of outliers, of misclassifications—is an essential tool in a) identifying and fixing problems in the data, b) generating new modeling hypotheses, and c) assigning or refining human-provided labels. However, manual data inspection is risky for privacy-sensitive datasets, such as those representing the behavior of real-world individuals. Furthermore, manual data inspection is impossible in the increasingly important setting of federated learning, where raw examples are stored at the edge and the modeler may only access aggregated outputs such as metrics or model parameters. This paper demonstrates that generative models—trained using federated methods and with formal differential privacy guarantees—can be used effectively to debug data issues even when the data cannot be directly inspected. We explore these methods in applications to text with differentially private federated RNNs and to images using a novel algorithm for differentially private federated GANs. View details
    Context-Aware Local Differential Privacy
    Jayadev Acharya
    Ziteng Sun
    International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) (2020)
    Preview abstract Local differential privacy (LDP) is a strong notion of privacy for individual users that often comes at the expense of a significant drop in utility. The classical definition of LDP assumes that all elements in the data domain are equally sensitive. However, in many applications, some symbols are more sensitive than others. This work proposes a context-aware framework of local differential privacy that allows a privacy designer to incorporate the application's context into the privacy definition. For binary data domains, we provide a universally optimal privatization scheme and highlight its connections to Warner's randomized response (RR) and Mangat's improved response. Motivated by geolocation and web search applications, for k-ary data domains, we consider two special cases of context-aware LDP: block-structured LDP and high-low LDP. We study discrete distribution estimation and provide communication-efficient, sample-optimal schemes and information-theoretic lower bounds for both models. We show that using contextual information can require fewer samples than classical LDP to achieve the same accuracy. View details
    Preview abstract Federated learning is a distributed, on-device computation framework that enables training global models without exporting sensitive user data to servers. In this work, we describe methods to extend the federation framework to evaluate strategies for personalization of global models. We present tools to analyze the effects of personalization and evaluate conditions under which personalization yields desirable models. We report on our experiments personalizing a language model for a virtual keyboard for smartphones with a population of tens of millions of users. We show that a significant fraction of users benefit from personalization. View details
    Towards Federated Learning at Scale: System Design
    Hubert Eichner
    Wolfgang Grieskamp
    Dzmitry Huba
    Vladimir Ivanov
    Chloé M Kiddon
    Jakub Konečný
    Stefano Mazzocchi
    Timon Van Overveldt
    David Petrou
    Jason Roselander
    SysML 2019
    Preview abstract Federated Learning is a distributed machine learning approach which enables training on a large corpus of data which never needs to leave user devices. We have spent some effort over the last two years building a scalable production system for FL. In this paper, we report about the resulting high-level design, sketching the challenges and the solutions, as well as touching the open problems and future directions. View details
    Preview abstract We train a recurrent neural network language model using a distributed, on-device learning framework called federated learning for the purpose of next-word prediction in a virtual keyboard for smartphones. Server-based training using stochastic gradient descent is compared with training on client devices using the Federated Averaging algorithm. The federated algorithm, which enables training on a higher-quality dataset for this use case, is shown to achieve better prediction recall. This work demonstrates the feasibility and benefit of training language models on client devices without exporting sensitive user data to servers. The federated learning environment gives users greater control over their data and simplifies the task of incorporating privacy by default with distributed training and aggregation across a population of client devices. View details
    Advances and Open Problems in Federated Learning
    Brendan Avent
    Aurélien Bellet
    Mehdi Bennis
    Arjun Nitin Bhagoji
    Graham Cormode
    Rachel Cummings
    Rafael G.L. D'Oliveira
    Salim El Rouayheb
    David Evans
    Josh Gardner
    Adrià Gascón
    Phillip B. Gibbons
    Marco Gruteser
    Zaid Harchaoui
    Chaoyang He
    Lie He
    Zhouyuan Huo
    Justin Hsu
    Martin Jaggi
    Tara Javidi
    Gauri Joshi
    Mikhail Khodak
    Jakub Konečný
    Aleksandra Korolova
    Farinaz Koushanfar
    Sanmi Koyejo
    Tancrède Lepoint
    Yang Liu
    Prateek Mittal
    Richard Nock
    Ayfer Özgür
    Rasmus Pagh
    Ramesh Raskar
    Dawn Song
    Weikang Song
    Sebastian U. Stich
    Ziteng Sun
    Florian Tramèr
    Praneeth Vepakomma
    Jianyu Wang
    Li Xiong
    Qiang Yang
    Felix X. Yu
    Han Yu
    Arxiv (2019)
    Preview abstract Federated learning (FL) is a machine learning setting where many clients (e.g., mobile devices or whole organizations) collaboratively train a model under the orchestration of a central server (e.g., service provider), while keeping the training data decentralized. FL embodies the principles of focused data collection and minimization, and mitigates many of the systemic privacy risks and costs resulting from traditional, centralized machine learning and data science approaches. Motivated by the explosive growth in FL research, this paper discusses recent advances and presents a comprehensive list of open problems and challenges. View details
    Preview abstract We train a recurrent neural network language model using a distributed, on-device learning framework called federated learning for the purpose of next-word prediction in a virtual keyboard for smartphones. Server-based training using stochastic gradient descent is compared with training on client devices using the FederatedAveraging algorithm. The federated algorithm, which enables training on a higher-quality dataset for this use case, is shown to achieve better prediction recall. This work demonstrates the feasibility and benefit of training language models on client devices without exporting sensitive user data to servers. The federated learning environment gives users greater control over their data and simplifies the task of incorporating privacy by default with distributed training and aggregation across a population of client devices. View details
    Preview abstract Federated learning is a distributed form of machine learning where both the training data and model training are decentralized. In this paper, we use federated learning in a commercial, global-scale setting to train, evaluate and deploy a model to improve virtual keyboard search suggestion quality without direct access to the underlying user data. We describe our observations in federated training, compare metrics to live deployments, and present resulting quality increases. In whole, we demonstrate how federated learning can be applied end-to-end to both improve user experiences and enhance user privacy. View details
    Learning Differentially Private Recurrent Language Models
    Kunal Talwar
    Li Zhang
    International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) (2018)
    Preview abstract We demonstrate that it is possible to train large recurrent language models with user-level differential privacy guarantees with only a negligible cost in predictive accuracy. Our work builds on recent advances in the training of deep networks on user-partitioned data and privacy accounting for stochastic gradient descent. In particular, we add user-level privacy protection to the federated averaging algorithm, which makes "large step" updates from user-level data. Our work demonstrates that given a dataset with a sufficiently large number of users (a requirement easily met by even small internet-scale datasets), achieving differential privacy comes at the cost of increased computation, rather than in decreased utility as in most prior work. We find that our private LSTM language models are quantitatively and qualitatively similar to un-noised models when trained on a large dataset. View details
    Communication-Efficient Learning of Deep Networks from Decentralized Data
    Eider Moore
    Seth Hampson
    Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (AISTATS) (2017)
    Preview abstract Modern mobile devices have access to a wealth of data suitable for learning models, which in turn can greatly improve the user experience on the device. For example, language models can improve speech recognition and text entry, and image models can automatically select good photos. However, this rich data is often privacy sensitive, large in quantity, or both, which may preclude logging to the data center and training there using conventional approaches. We advocate an alternative that leaves the training data distributed on the mobile devices, and learns a shared model by aggregating locally-computed updates. We term this decentralized approach Federated Learning. We present a practical method for the federated learning of deep networks based on iterative model averaging, and conduct an extensive empirical evaluation, considering five different model architectures and four datasets. These experiments demonstrate the approach is robust to the unbalanced and non-IID data distributions that are a defining characteristic of this setting. Communication costs are the principal constraint, and we show a reduction in required communication rounds by 10-100x as compared to synchronized stochastic gradient descent. View details
    Preview abstract We design a novel, communication-efficient, failure-robust protocol for secure aggregation of high-dimensional data. Our protocol allows a server to collect an aggregate of user-held data from mobile devices in a privacy-preserving manner, and can be used, for example, in a federated learning setting, to aggregate user-provided model updates for a deep neural network. We prove the security of our protocol in the honest-but-curious and malicious server settings, and show that privacy is preserved even if an arbitrarily chosen subset of users drop out at any time. We evaluate the efficiency of our protocol and show, by complexity analysis and a concrete implementation, that its runtime and communication overhead remain low even on large data sets and client pools. For 16-bit input values, our protocol offers 1.73× communication expansion for 2^10 users and 2^20-dimensional vectors, and 1.98× expansion for 2^14 users and 2^24-dimensional vectors. View details
    Practical Secure Aggregation for Federated Learning on User-Held Data
    Vladimir Ivanov
    Ben Kreuter
    Antonio Marcedone
    Sarvar Patel
    NIPS Workshop on Private Multi-Party Machine Learning (2016)
    Preview abstract Secure Aggregation is a class of Secure Multi-Party Computation algorithms wherein a group of mutually distrustful parties u ∈ U each hold a private value x_u and collaborate to compute an aggregate value, such as the sum_{u∈U} x_u, without revealing to one another any information about their private value except what is learnable from the aggregate value itself. In this work, we consider training a deep neural network in the Federated Learning model, using distributed gradient descent across user-held training data on mobile devices, wherein Secure Aggregation protects the privacy of each user’s model gradient. We identify a combination of efficiency and robustness requirements which, to the best of our knowledge, are unmet by existing algorithms in the literature. We proceed to design a novel, communication-efficient Secure Aggregation protocol for high-dimensional data that tolerates up to 1/3 users failing to complete the protocol. For 16-bit input values, our protocol offers 1.73x communication expansion for 2^10 users and 2^20-dimensional vectors, and 1.98x expansion for 2^14 users and 2^24 dimensional vectors. View details
    Preview abstract We introduce a new and increasingly relevant setting for distributed optimization in machine learning, where the data defining the optimization are unevenly distributed over an extremely large number of nodes. The goal is to train a high-quality centralized model. We refer to this setting as Federated Optimization. In this setting, communication efficiency is of the utmost importance and minimizing the number of rounds of communication is the principal goal. A motivating example arises when we keep the training data locally on users' mobile devices instead of logging it to a data center for training. In federated optimization, the devices are used as compute nodes performing computation on their local data in order to update a global model. We suppose that we have extremely large number of devices in the network --- as many as the number of users of a given service, each of which has only a tiny fraction of the total data available. In particular, we expect the number of data points available locally to be much smaller than the number of devices. Additionally, since different users generate data with different patterns, it is reasonable to assume that no device has a representative sample of the overall distribution. We show that existing algorithms are not suitable for this setting, and propose a new algorithm which shows encouraging experimental results for sparse convex problems. This work also sets a path for future research needed in the context of federated optimization. View details
    Preview abstract The collection and analysis of user data drives improvements in the app and web ecosystems, but comes with risks to privacy. This paper examines discrete distribution estimation under local privacy, a setting wherein service providers can learn the distribution of a categorical statistic of interest without collecting the underlying data. We present new mechanisms, including hashed k-ary Randomized Response (k-RR), that empirically meet or exceed the utility of existing mechanisms at all privacy levels. New theoretical results demonstrate the order-optimality of k-RR and the existing RAPPOR mechanism at different privacy regimes. View details
    Federated Optimization: Distributed Optimization Beyond the Datacenter
    Jakub Konečný
    NIPS Optimization for Machine Learning Workshop (2015), pp. 5
    Preview abstract We introduce a new and increasingly relevant setting for distributed optimization in machine learning, where the data defining the optimization are distributed (unevenly) over an extremely large number of nodes, but the goal remains to train a high-quality centralized model. We refer to this setting as Federated Optimization. In this setting, communication efficiency is of utmost importance. A motivating example for federated optimization arises when we keep the training data locally on users' mobile devices rather than logging it to a data center for training. Instead, the mobile devices are used as nodes performing computation on their local data in order to update a global model. We suppose that we have an extremely large number of devices in our network, each of which has only a tiny fraction of data available totally; in particular, we expect the number of data points available locally to be much smaller than the number of devices. Additionally, since different users generate data with different patterns, we assume that no device has a representative sample of the overall distribution. We show that existing algorithms are not suitable for this setting, and propose a new algorithm which shows encouraging experimental results. This work also sets a path for future research needed in the context of federated optimization. View details
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