Differentially Private Diffusion Models Generate Useful Synthetic Images

The ability to generate privacy-preserving synthetic versions of sensitive image datasets could unlock numerous ML applications currently constrained by data availability. Due to their astonishing image generation quality, diffusion models are a prime candidate for generating high-quality synthetic data. However, recent studies have found that, by default, the outputs of some diffusion models do not preserve training data privacy. By privately fine-tuning ImageNet pre-trained diffusion models with more than 80M parameters, we obtain SOTA results on CIFAR-10 and Camelyon17 in terms of both FID and the accuracy of downstream classifiers trained on synthetic data. We decrease the SOTA FID on CIFAR-10 from 26.2 to 9.8, and increase the accuracy from 51.0% to 88.0%. On synthetic data from Camelyon17, we achieve a downstream accuracy of 91.1% which is close to the SOTA of 96.5% when training on the real data. We leverage the ability of generative models to create infinite amounts of data to maximise the downstream prediction performance, and further show how to use synthetic data for hyperparameter tuning. Our results demonstrate that diffusion models fine-tuned with differential privacy can produce useful and provably private synthetic data, even in applications with significant distribution shift between the pre-training and fine-tuning distributions.

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