Keywords: Synthetic data, differential privacy, marginal-based method, Bayesian network, learning theory
TL;DR: We analyze the differentially private marginal-based data synthesis algorithms in a statistical framework and establish a theoretical guarantee for the accuracy and utility.
Abstract: Marginal-based methods achieve promising performance in the synthetic data competition hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). To deal with high-dimensional data, the distribution of synthetic data is represented by a probabilistic graphical model (e.g., a Bayesian network), while the raw data distribution is approximated by a collection of low-dimensional marginals. Differential privacy (DP) is guaranteed by introducing random noise to each low-dimensional marginal distribution. Despite its promising performance in practice, the statistical properties of marginal-based methods are rarely studied in the literature. In this paper, we study DP data synthesis algorithms based on Bayesian networks (BN) from a statistical perspective. We establish a rigorous accuracy guarantee for BN-based algorithms, where the errors are measured by the total variation (TV) distance or the $L^2$ distance. Related to downstream machine learning tasks, an upper bound for the utility error of the DP synthetic data is also derived. To complete the picture, we establish a lower bound for TV accuracy that holds for every $\epsilon$-DP synthetic data generator.
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