Distinguished Department Seminar with Jelani Nelson: New Local Differentially Private Protocols for Frequency and Mean Estimation


April 3, 2023    
1:10 pm - 2:00 pm


3043 ECpE Bldg Addition
Coover Hall, Ames

Event Type

Title: New Local Differentially Private Protocols for Frequency and Mean Estimation

Abstract: Consider the following examples of distributed applications: a texting app wants to train ML models for autocomplete based on text history residing on-device across millions of devices, or the developers of some other app want to understand common app settings by their users. In both cases, and many others, a third party wants to understand something in the aggregate about a large distributed database but under the constraint that each individual record requires some guarantee of privacy. Protocols satisfying so-called local differential privacy have become the gold standard for guaranteeing privacy in such situations, and in this talk I will discuss new such protocols for two of the most common problems that require solutions in this framework: frequency estimation, and mean estimation.

Based on joint works with subsets of Hilal Asi, Vitaly Feldman, Huy Le Nguyen, and Kunal Talwar.

Bio: Jelani Nelson is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley, interested in randomized algorithms, sketching and streaming algorithms, dimensionality reduction, and differential privacy. He is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers (PECASE), and a Sloan Research Fellowship. He is also Founder and President of AddisCoder, Inc., a nonprofit that provides algorithms training to high school students in Ethiopia and Jamaica.