I usually tag things from ArXiV that I want to skim later, so I figured I would post the ones I found interesting in the last month or so. Some of them may deserve their own post later. Jet lag is not letting me take the nap I need right now so I figured I’d post it before conking out.

Convergence Rates for Differentially Private Statistical Estimation

K. Chaudhuri and D. Hsu

ArXiV 1206.6395

This paper is about estimation under privacy constraints. In differential privacy there are a fair number of constraints with regards to the data being well behaved — typical assumptions include boundedness, for example. One way around this is to move to a relaxed notion of privacy known as -differential privacy, but what this paper shows is that for the stricter -differential privacy definition, statistical estimation is governed by the gross error sensitivity (GES) of the estimator.

The Greedy Miser: Learning under Test-time Budgets

Z. Xu, K. Weinberger, and O. Chapelle

ArXiV 1206.6451

This paper is about incorporating the cost of extracting features in classification or regression. For a data point , the feature costs to compute and there is a total budget for the computation. The main approach is to minimize a linear combination of the loss and the cost iteratively, where each iteration consists of building a regression tree.

Sequential detection of multiple change points in networks: a graphical model approach

A.A. Amini and X. Nguyen

ArXiV 1207.1687

This looks at the change point detection problem in the network setting, where each of nodes in a network has a change point . Data is observed on vertices and edges and nodes have to pass messages on the graph. There’s a prior distribution on the change point times and after observing the data the nodes can use message passing to do some belief propagation to estimate the posterior distribution and define a stopping time. This turns out to be asymptotically optimal, in that the expected delay in detecting the change point is achieved.

The Price of Privacy in Untrusted Recommendation Engines

S. Bannerjee, N. Hegde, and L. MassouliÃ©

ArXiV 1207.3269

This studies the effect on recommendations engines of individuals masking their data due to privacy concerns. The technical issues are the the dimension is high and each user only has a small amount of data to control (e.g. the movies that they rented or have seen). The question is one of sample complexity — how many users do we need to cluster successfully. If users are not so sparse, they can achieve the Fano lower bound (order-wise) using a sketch and spectral techniques, but the dependence is like , where $N$ is the number of items (e.g. movies). It’s worse if the users are sparse — the scaling is with , which is also achievable in some settings. The analysis approach using Fano is analogous to the “information leakage” connections with differential privacy.

Surrogate Losses in Passive and Active Learning

S. Hanneke and L. Yang

ArXiV 1207.3772

This paper looks at how to use surrogate losses (which are computationally tractable) in active learning problems. “We take as our starting point that we have already committed to use a given surrogate loss, and we restrict our attention to just those scenarios in which this heuristic actually does work. We are then interested in how best to make use of the surrogate loss toward the goal of producing a classifier with relatively small error rate.” The central insight in their algorithm is that by taking into account the fact that the “real loss” is (say) the 0-1 loss, then for the purposes of active learning, one only really needs to get the sign right and not the magnitude. So the process will minimize the real loss but not necessarily the surrogate.