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Colloquia Series: Mark Bun

Mar 26
11:30 a.m.
Jolley Hall, Room 309

Finding Structure in the Landscape of Differential Privacy


Differential privacy offers a mathematical framework for balancing two goals: obtaining useful information about sensitive data, and protecting individual-level privacy. Discovering the limitations of differential privacy yields insights as to what analyses are incompatible with privacy and why. These insights further aid the quest to discover optimal privacy-preserving algorithms. In this talk, I will give examples of how both follow from new understandings of the structure of differential privacy.

I will first describe negative results for private data analysis via a connection to cryptographic objects called fingerprinting codes. These results show that an (asymptotically) optimal way to solve natural high-dimensional tasks is to decompose them into many simpler tasks. In the second part of the talk, I will discuss concentrated differential privacy, a framework which enables more accurate analyses by precisely capturing how simpler tasks compose.


Mark Bun is a postdoctoral researcher in the Computer Science Department at Princeton University. He is broadly interested in theoretical computer science, and his research focuses on understanding foundational problems in data privacy through the lens of comptational complexity theory. He completed his Ph.D. at Harvard in 2016, where he was advised by Salil Vadhan and supported by an NDSEG Research Fellowship.