Privacy-preserving Learning via Deep Net Pruning

4 Mar 2020  ·  Yangsibo Huang, Yushan Su, Sachin Ravi, Zhao Song, Sanjeev Arora, Kai Li ·

This paper attempts to answer the question whether neural network pruning can be used as a tool to achieve differential privacy without losing much data utility. As a first step towards understanding the relationship between neural network pruning and differential privacy, this paper proves that pruning a given layer of the neural network is equivalent to adding a certain amount of differentially private noise to its hidden-layer activations. The paper also presents experimental results to show the practical implications of the theoretical finding and the key parameter values in a simple practical setting. These results show that neural network pruning can be a more effective alternative to adding differentially private noise for neural networks.

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