Computing Tight Differential Privacy Guarantees Using FFT

Antti Koskela, Joonas Jälkö, Antti Honkela

Differentially private (DP) machine learning has recently become popular. The privacy loss of DP algorithms is commonly reported using $(\varepsilon,\delta)$-DP. In this paper, we propose a numerical accountant for evaluating the privacy loss for algorithms with continuous one dimensional output. This accountant can be applied to the subsampled multidimensional Gaussian mechanism which underlies the popular DP stochastic gradient descent. The proposed method is based on a numerical approximation of an integral formula which gives the exact $(\varepsilon,\delta)$-values. The approximation is carried out by discretising the integral and by evaluating discrete convolutions using the fast Fourier transform algorithm. We give both theoretical error bounds and numerical error estimates for the approximation. Experimental comparisons with state-of-the-art techniques demonstrate significant improvements in bound tightness and/or computation time. Python code for the method can be found in Github (

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