[Dmbu-l] today's DB seminar

Evimaria Terzi evimaria at cs.bu.edu
Tue Nov 2 08:26:52 EDT 2010

I think that tomorrow we can replace our DB seminar with the talk by Dr. 
Frank McSherry on data privacy at 2PM in MCS 135
(this is an invited talk to  prof. Golberg's CS 591 class.)
Here is title and abstract.


peaker: Frank McSherry, Microsoft Research Silicon Valley
Title: Privacy Integrated Queries: A Programming Language for
Differentially-Private Computation

Abstract: Large volumes of sensitive data are currently collected by
an array of agencies, companies, and other organizations. While these
data clearly hold great potential for analysis, they can also reflect
sensitive information about their participants. Scientists have
struggled with the tension between extracting valuable statistical
information from these datasets without accidentally disclosing
specifics of individual records. A recent privacy criterion,
differential privacy, formally constrains the disclosure of specifics
of individual records, without precluding the release of statistical
information. Differential privacy requires that the outcome of a
computation be almost as likely with and without any one record; to
each participant, the analysis behaves as if it did not have access to
the participant?s data.

While differential privacy is very strong, its use to date has been
restricted to privacy experts; a small collection of highly-trained
individuals who, no matter how motivated, are not able to satisfy the
enormous volume of the world?s data analysis needs. To this end, we
have assembled a programming language in which any program provides
differential privacy, without requiring an expert privacy analysis.
The language is almost identical to LINQ, a SQL-like extension to C#,
and is readily useable by analysts with only a modest background in
programming. We will discuss the design, implementation, and
application of this language across a variety of data analysis

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler"
(A. Einstein)

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