Google Research

Private Counting of Distinct and k-Occurring Items in Time Windows

ITCS 2023 (to appear)


In this work, we study the task of estimating the numbers of distinct and k-occurring items in a time window under the constraint of differential privacy (DP). We consider several variants depending on whether the queries are on general time windows (between times t1 and t2), or are restricted to being cumulative (between times 1 and t2), and depending on whether the DP neighboring relation is event-level or the more stringent item-level. We obtain nearly tight upper and lower bounds on the errors of DP algorithms for these problems. En route, we obtain an event-level DP algorithm for estimating, at each time step, the number of distinct items seen over the last W updates with error polylogarithmic in W; this answers an open question of Bolot et al. (ICDT 2013).

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