On the Tradeoff between Privacy Preservation and Byzantine-Robustness in Decentralized Learning

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Haoxiang Ye, Heng Zhu, Qing Ling


This paper jointly considers privacy preservation and Byzantine-robustness in decentralized learning. In a decentralized network, honest-but-curious agents faithfully follow the prescribed algorithm, but expect to infer their neighbors' private data from messages received during the learning process, while dishonest-and-Byzantine agents disobey the prescribed algorithm, and deliberately disseminate wrong messages to their neighbors so as to bias the learning process. For this novel setting, we investigate a generic privacy-preserving and Byzantine-robust decentralized stochastic gradient descent (SGD) framework, in which Gaussian noise is injected to preserve privacy and robust aggregation rules are adopted to counteract Byzantine attacks. We analyze its learning error and privacy guarantee, discovering an essential tradeoff between privacy preservation and Byzantine-robustness in decentralized learning -- the learning error caused by defending against Byzantine attacks is exacerbated by the Gaussian noise added to preserve privacy. Numerical experiments are conducted and corroborate our theoretical findings.

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