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Rajiv Mathews

Rajiv Mathews

Rajiv Mathews is a Principal Software Engineer at Google, where he works on privacy-preserving machine learning techniques, with applications in the domains of natural language, speech and mobile keyboards.
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    Preview abstract How well do existing federated learning algorithms learn from client devices that return model updates with a significant time delay? Is it even possible to learn effectively from clients that report back minutes, hours, or days after being scheduled? We answer these questions by developing Monte Carlo simulations of client latency that are guided by real-world applications. We compare well-known synchronous optimization algorithms like FedAvg and FedAdam with the state-of-the-art asynchronous FedBuff algorithm, and discover that these existing approaches often struggle to learn from severely delayed clients. To improve upon these, we experiment with modifications including distillation regularization and exponential moving averages of model weights. Finally, we invent two new algorithms, FARe-DUST and FeAST-on-MSG, based on distillation and averaging, respectively. Experiments with the EMNIST, CIFAR-100, and StackOverflow benchmark federated learning tasks demonstrate that our new algorithms outperform existing ones in terms of accuracy for straggler clients, while also providing better trade-offs between training time and total accuracy. View details
    Preview abstract Most studies in cross-device federated learning focus on small models, due to the server-client communication and on-device computation bottlenecks. In this work, we leverage various techniques for mitigating these bottlenecks to train larger language models in cross-device federated learning. With systematic applications of partial model training, quantization, efficient transfer learning, and communication-efficient optimizers, we are able to train a 21M parameter Transformer that achieves the same perplexity as that of a similarly sized LSTM with ~10x smaller client-to-server communication cost and 11% lower perplexity than smaller LSTMs commonly studied in literature. View details
    Preview abstract Personalization of speech models on mobile devices (on-device personalization) is an active area of research, but more often than not, mobile devices have more text-only data than paired audio-text data. We explore training a personalized language model on text-only data, used during inference to improve speech recognition performance for that user. We experiment on a user-clustered LibriSpeech corpus, supplemented with personalized text-only data for each user from Project Gutenberg. We release this User-Specific LibriSpeech (UserLibri) dataset to aid future personalization research. LibriSpeech audio-transcript pairs are grouped into 55 users from the test-clean dataset and 52 users from test-other. We are able to lower the average word error rate per user across both sets in streaming and nonstreaming models, including an improvement of 2.5 for the harder set of test-other users when streaming. View details
    A Method to Reveal Speaker Identity in Distributed ASR Training,and How to Counter It
    Trung Dang
    Peter Chin
    Françoise Simone Beaufays
    IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, ICASSP 2022, Virtual and Singapore, 23-27 May 2022, {IEEE}, pp. 4338-4342
    Preview abstract End-to-end Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) models are commonly trained over spoken utterances using optimization methods like Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD). In distributed settings like Federated Learning, model training requires transmission of gradients over a network. In this work, we design the first method for revealing the identity of the speaker of a training utterance with access only to a gradient. We propose Hessian-Free Gradients Matching, an input reconstruction technique that operates without second derivatives of the loss function (required in prior works), which can be expensive to compute. We show the effectiveness of our method using the DeepSpeech model architecture, demonstrating that it is possible to reveal the speaker’s identity with 34% top-1 accuracy (51% top-5 accuracy) on the LibriSpeech dataset. Further, we study the effect of Dropout on the success of our method. We show that a dropout rate of 0.2 can reduce the speaker identity accuracy to 0% top-1 (0.5% top-5). View details
    Capitalization Normalization for Language Modeling with an Accurate and Efficient Hierarchical RNN Model
    Hao Zhang
    You-Chi Cheng
    IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, ICASSP 2022, Virtual and Singapore, 23-27 May 2022, {IEEE}, pp. 6097-6101
    Preview abstract Capitalization normalization (truecasing) is the task of restoring the correct case (uppercase or lowercase) of noisy text. We propose a fast, accurate and compact two-level hierarchical word-and-character-based recurrent neural network model. We use the truecaser to normalize user-generated text in a Federated Learning framework for language modeling. A case-aware language model trained on this normalized text achieves the same perplexity as a model trained on text with gold capitalization. In a real user A/B experiment, we demonstrate that the improvement translates to reduced prediction error rates in a virtual keyboard application. Similarly, in an ASR language model fusion experiment, we show reduction in uppercase character error rate and word error rate. View details
    Preview abstract End-to-end (E2E) models are often being accompanied by language models (LMs) via shallow fusion for boosting their overall quality as well as recognition of rare words. At the same time, several prior works show that LMs are susceptible to unintentionally memorizing rare or unique sequences in the training data. In this work, we design a framework for detecting memorization of random textual sequences (which we call canaries) in the LM training data when one has only black-box (query) access to LM-fused speech recognizer, as opposed to direct access to the LM. On a production-grade Conformer RNN-T E2E model fused with a Transformer LM, we show that detecting memorization of singly-occurring canaries from the LM training data of 300M examples is possible. Motivated to protect privacy, we also show that such memorization gets significantly reduced by per-example gradient-clipped LM training without compromising overall quality. View details
    Preview abstract Recent work has designed methods to demonstrate that model updates in ASR training can leak potentially sensitive attributes of the utterances used in computing the updates. In this work, we design the first method to demonstrate information leakage about training data from trained ASR models. We design Noise Masking, a fill-in-the-blank style method for extracting targeted parts of training data from trained ASR models. We demonstrate the success of Noise Masking by using it in four settings for extracting names from the LibriSpeech dataset used for training a state-of-the-art Conformer model. In particular, we show that we are able to extract the correct names from masked training utterances with 11.8% accuracy, while the model outputs some name from the train set 55.2% of the time. Further, we show that even in a setting that uses synthetic audio and partial transcripts from the test set, our method achieves 2.5% correct name accuracy (47.7% any name success rate). Lastly, we design Word Dropout, a data augmentation method that we show when used in training along with Multistyle TRaining (MTR), provides comparable utility as the baseline, along with significantly mitigating extraction via Noise Masking across the four evaluated settings. View details
    Preview abstract Federated learning (FL) enables learning from decentralized privacy-sensitive data, with computations on raw data confined to take place at edge clients. This paper introduces mixed FL, which incorporates an additional loss term calculated at the coordinating server (while maintaining FL's private data restrictions). There are numerous benefits. For example, additional datacenter data can be leveraged to jointly learn from centralized (datacenter) and decentralized (federated) training data and better match an expected inference data distribution. Mixed FL also enables offloading some intensive computations (e.g., embedding regularization) to the server, greatly reducing communication and client computation load. For these and other mixed FL use cases, we present three algorithms: PARALLEL TRAINING, 1-WAY GRADIENT TRANSFER, and 2-WAY GRADIENT TRANSFER. We state convergence bounds for each, and give intuition on which are suited to particular mixed FL problems. Finally we perform extensive experiments on three tasks, demonstrating that mixed FL can blend training data to achieve an oracle's accuracy on an inference distribution, and can reduce communication and computation overhead by over 90%. Our experiments confirm theoretical predictions of how algorithms perform under different mixed FL problem settings. View details
    Preview abstract This paper addresses the challenges of training large neural network models under federated learning settings: high on-device memory usage and communication cost. The proposed Online Model Compression (OMC) provides a framework that stores model parameters in a compressed format and decompresses them only when needed. We use quantization as the compression method in this paper and propose three methods, (1) using per-variable transformation, (2) weight matrices only quantization, and (3) partial parameter quantization, to minimize the impact on model accuracy. According to our experiments on two recent neural networks for speech recognition and two different datasets, OMC can reduce memory usage and communication cost of model parameters by up to 59% while attaining comparable accuracy and training speed when compared with full-precision training. View details
    Preview abstract Almost none of the 2,000+ languages spoken in Africa have widely available automatic speech recognition systems, and the required data is also only available for a few languages. We have experimented with two techniques which may provide pathways to large vocabulary speech recognition for African languages: multilingual modeling and self-supervised learning. We gathered available open source data and collected data for 15 languages, and trained experimental models using these techniques. Our results show that pooling the small amounts of data available in multilingual end-to-end models, and pre-training on unsupervised data can help improve speech recognition quality for many African languages. View details
    Preview abstract In distributed learning settings such as federated learning, the training algorithm can be potentially biased towards different clients. Mohri et al. (2019) proposed a domain-agnostic learning algorithm, where the model is optimized for any target distribution formed by a mixture of the client distributions in order to overcome this bias. They further proposed an algorithm for the cross-silo federated learning setting, where the number of clients is small. We consider this problem in the cross-device setting, where the number of clients is much larger. We propose a communication-efficient distributed algorithm called Agnostic Federated Averaging (or AgnosticFedAvg) to minimize the domain-agnostic objective proposed in (Mohri et al., 2019), which is amenable to other private mechanisms such as secure aggregation. We highlight two types of naturally occurring domains in federated learning and argue that AgnosticFedAvg performs well on both. To demonstrate the practical effectiveness of AgnosticFedAvg, we report positive results for large-scale language modeling tasks in both simulation and live experiments, where the latter involves training language models for Spanish virtual keyboard for millions of user devices. View details
    Revealing and Protecting Labels in Distributed Training
    Trung Dang
    Peter Chin
    Françoise Simone Beaufays
    Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34: Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems 2021, NeurIPS 2021, December 6-14, 2021, virtual, pp. 1727-1738
    Preview abstract Distributed learning paradigms such as federated learning often involve transmission of model updates, or gradients, over a network, thereby avoiding transmission of private data. However, it is possible for sensitive information about the training data to be revealed from such gradients. Prior works have demonstrated that labels can be revealed analytically from the last layer of certain models (e.g., ResNet), or they can be reconstructed jointly with model inputs by using Gradients Matching [Zhu et al.] with additional knowledge about the current state of the model. In this work, we propose a method to discover the set of labels of training samples from only the gradient of the last layer and the id to label mapping. Our method is applicable to a wide variety of model architectures across multiple domains. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our method for model training in two domains - image classification, and automatic speech recognition. Furthermore, we show that existing reconstruction techniques improve their efficacy when used in conjunction with our method. Conversely, we demonstrate that gradient quantization and sparsification can significantly reduce the success of the attack. View details
    Preview abstract Truecasing is the task of restoring the correct case (uppercase or lowercase) of noisy text generated either by an automatic system for speech recognition or machine translation or by humans. It improves the performance of downstream NLP tasks such as named entity recognition and language modeling. We propose a fast, accurate and compact two-level hierarchical word-and-character-based recurrent neural network model, the first of its kind for this problem. Using sequence distillation, we also address the problem of truecasing while ignoring token positions in the sentence, i.e. in a position-invariant manner. View details
    Preview abstract With privacy as a motivation, Federated Learning (FL) is an increasingly used paradigm where learning takes place collectively on edge devices, with user-generated training examples that never leave the device. These on-device training examples are gathered in situ during the course of users’ interactions with their devices, and thus are highly reflective of at least part of the inference data distribution. Yet gaps may still exist, where on-device training examples are lacking for some data inputs expected to be encountered at inference time. This paper proposes a way to mitigate these gaps: selective usage of datacenter data, mixed in with FL. By mixing decentralized (federated) and centralized (datacenter) data, we can form an effective training data distribution that better matches the inference data distribution, resulting in more useful models. View details
    Generative Models for Effective ML on Private, Decentralized Datasets
    Peter Kairouz
    8th International Conference on Learning Representations, ICLR 2020, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, April 26-30, 2020, OpenReview.net
    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
    Preview abstract We demonstrate that a production-quality keyword-spotting model can be trained on-device using federated learning and achieve comparable false accept and false reject rates to a centrally-trained model. To overcome the algorithmic constraints associated with fitting on-device data (which are inherently non-independent and identically distributed), we conduct thorough empirical studies of optimization algorithms and hyperparameter configurations using large-scale federated simulations. And we explore techniques for utterance augmentation and data labeling to overcome the physical limitations of on-device training. View details
    Preview abstract This paper presents the first consumer-scale next-word prediction (NWP) model trained with Federated Learning (FL) while leveraging the Differentially Private Federated Averaging (DP-FedAvg) technique. There has been prior work on building practical FL infrastructure, including work demonstrating the feasibility of training language models on mobile devices using such infrastructure. It has also been shown (in simulations on a public corpus) that it is possible to train NWP models with user-level differential privacy using the DP-FedAvg algorithm. Nevertheless, training production-quality NWP models with DP-FedAvg in a real-world production environment on a heterogeneous fleet of mobile phones requires addressing numerous challenges. For instance, the coordinating central server has to keep track of the devices available at the start of each round and sample devices uniformly at random from them, while ensuring \emph{secrecy of the sample}, etc. Unlike all prior privacy-focused FL work of which we are aware, for the first time we demonstrate the deployment of a differentially private mechanism for the training of a production neural network in FL, as well as the instrumentation of the production training infrastructure to perform an end-to-end empirical measurement of unintended memorization. View details
    Understanding Unintended Memorization in Federated Learning
    Françoise Beaufays
    Third Workshop on Privacy in Natural Language Processing (PrivateNLP 2021) at 2021 Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (NAACL 2021) (2020)
    Preview abstract Recent works have shown that generative sequence models (e.g., language models) have a tendency to memorize rare or unique sequences in the training data. Since useful models are often trained on sensitive data, to ensure the privacy of the training data it is critical to identify and mitigate such unintended memorization. Federated Learning (FL) has emerged as a novel framework for large-scale distributed learning tasks. However, it differs in many aspects from the well-studied central learning setting where all the data is stored at the central server. In this paper, we initiate a formal study to understand the effect of different components of canonical FL on unintended memorization in trained models, comparing with the central learning setting. Our results show that several differing components of FL play an important role in reducing unintended memorization. Specifically, we observe that the clustering of data according to users---which happens by design in FL---has a significant effect in reducing such memorization, and using the method of Federated Averaging for training causes a further reduction. We also show that training with a strong user-level differential privacy guarantee results in models that exhibit the least amount of unintended memorization. View details
    Federated Learning of N-gram Language Models
    Adeline Wong
    Ananda Theertha Suresh
    Francoise Beaufays
    The SIGNLL Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (2019)
    Preview abstract We propose algorithms to train production-quality n-gram language models using federated learning. Federated learning is a machine learning technique to train global models to be used on portable devices such as smart phones, without the users' data ever leaving their devices. This is especially relevant for applications handling privacy-sensitive data, such as virtual keyboards. While the principles of federated learning are fairly generic, its methodology assumes that the underlying models are neural networks. However, virtual keyboards are typically powered by n-gram language models, mostly for latency reasons. We propose to train a recurrent neural network language model using the decentralized "FederatedAveraging" algorithm directly on training and to approximating this federated model server-side with an n-gram model that can be deployed to devices for fast inference. Our technical contributions include novel ways of handling large vocabularies, algorithms to correct capitalization errors in user data, and efficient finite state transducer algorithms to convert word language models to word-piece language models and vice versa. The n-gram language models trained with federated learning are compared to n-grams trained with traditional server-based algorithms using A/B tests on tens of millions of users of a virtual keyboard. Results are presented for two languages, American English and Brazilian Portuguese. This work demonstrates that high-quality n-gram language models can be trained directly on client mobile devices without sensitive training data ever leaving the device. 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
    Preview abstract We demonstrate that a character-level LSTM neural network is able to learn out-of-vocabulary (OOV) words for the purpose of expanding the vocabulary of a virtual keyboard for smartphones. We train such a model using a distributed, on-device learning framework called federated learning. High-frequency words can then be sampled from the generative model by drawing from the joint posterior directly. We study the feasibility of the approach in three different settings: (1) using stochastic gradient descent, on an anonymized dataset of snippets of user content; (2) using simulated federated learning, on a publicly available non-IID per-user dataset from a popular social networking website; (3) using federated learning, on data hosted on user mobile devices. The model is shown to achieve good recall and precision when compared to ground-truth OOV words in settings (1) and (2). With (3) we demonstrate the practicality of this approach by showing that we can learn meaningful OOV words without exporting sensitive user data to servers. View details
    Preview abstract We show that a word-level recurrent neural network can predict emoji from text typed on a mobile keyboard. We demonstrate the usefulness of transfer learning for predicting emoji by pretraining the model using a language modeling task. We also propose mechanisms to trigger emoji and tune the diversity of candidates. The model is trained using a distributed on-device learning framework called federated learning. The federated model is shown to achieve better performance than a server-trained model. This work demonstrates the feasibility of using federated learning to train production-quality models for natural language understanding tasks while keeping users' data on their devices. View details
    Federated Evaluation of On-device Personalization
    Chloé M Kiddon
    Françoise Simone Beaufays
    Hubert Eichner
    Kangkang Wang
    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
    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
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