Privet: A Privacy-Preserving Vertical Federated Learning Service for Gradient Boosted Decision Tables

Yifeng Zheng, Shuangqing Xu, Songlei Wang, Yansong Gao, Zhongyun Hua

Vertical federate learning (VFL) has recently emerged as an appealing distributed paradigm empowering multi-party collaboration for training high-quality models over vertically partitioned datasets. Gradient boosting has been popularly adopted in VFL, which builds an ensemble of weak learners (typically decision trees) to achieve promising prediction performance. Recently there have been growing interests in using decision table as an intriguing alternative weak learner in gradient boosting, due to its simpler structure, good interpretability, and promising performance. In the literature, there have been works on privacy-preserving VFL for gradient boosted decision trees, but no prior work has been devoted to the emerging case of decision tables. Training and inference on decision tables are different from that the case of generic decision trees, not to mention gradient boosting with decision tables in VFL. In light of this, we design, implement, and evaluate Privet, the first system framework enabling privacy-preserving VFL service for gradient boosted decision tables. Privet delicately builds on lightweight cryptography and allows an arbitrary number of participants holding vertically partitioned datasets to securely train gradient boosted decision tables. Extensive experiments over several real-world datasets and synthetic datasets demonstrate that Privet achieves promising performance, with utility comparable to plaintext centralized learning.

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