Abstract: Machine learning has the potential to assist many communities in using the large datasets that are becoming more and more available. Unfortunately, much of that potential is not being realized because it would require sharing data in a way that compromises privacy. In this paper, we investigate a method for ensuring (differential) privacy of the generator of the Generative Adversarial Nets (GAN) framework. The resulting model can be used for generating synthetic data on which algorithms can be trained and validated, and on which competitions can be conducted, without compromising the privacy of the original dataset. Our method modifies the Private Aggregation of Teacher Ensembles (PATE) framework and applies it to GANs. Our modified framework (which we call PATE-GAN) allows us to tightly bound the influence of any individual sample on the model, resulting in tight differential privacy guarantees and thus an improved performance over models with the same guarantees. We also look at measuring the quality of synthetic data from a new angle; we assert that for the synthetic data to be useful for machine learning researchers, the relative performance of two algorithms (trained and tested) on the synthetic dataset should be the same as their relative performance (when trained and tested) on the original dataset. Our experiments, on various datasets, demonstrate that PATE-GAN consistently outperforms the state-of-the-art method with respect to this and other notions of synthetic data quality.
Keywords: Synthetic data generation, Differential privacy, Generative adversarial networks, Private Aggregation of Teacher ensembles
Code: [![github](/images/github_icon.svg) vanderschaarlab/mlforhealthlabpub](https://github.com/vanderschaarlab/mlforhealthlabpub/tree/main/alg/pategan)
Data: [UCI Machine Learning Repository](https://paperswithcode.com/dataset/uci-machine-learning-repository)