Relaxed Marginal Consistency for Differentially Private Query Answering

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

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Ryan McKenna, Siddhant Pradhan, Daniel R. Sheldon, Gerome Miklau


Many differentially private algorithms for answering database queries involve astep that reconstructs a discrete data distribution from noisy measurements. Thisprovides consistent query answers and reduces error, but often requires space thatgrows exponentially with dimension. PRIVATE-PGM is a recent approach that usesgraphical models to represent the data distribution, with complexity proportional tothat of exact marginal inference in a graphical model with structure determined bythe co-occurrence of variables in the noisy measurements. PRIVATE-PGM is highlyscalable for sparse measurements, but may fail to run in high dimensions with densemeasurements. We overcome the main scalability limitation of PRIVATE-PGMthrough a principled approach that relaxes consistency constraints in the estimationobjective. Our new approach works with many existing private query answeringalgorithms and improves scalability or accuracy with no privacy cost.