LightDP

LightDP: towards automating differential privacy proofs. The growing popularity and adoption of differential privacy in academic and industrial settings has resulted in the development of increasingly sophisticated algorithms for releasing information while preserving privacy. Accompanying this phenomenon is the natural rise in the development and publication of incorrect algorithms, thus demonstrating the necessity of formal verification tools. However, existing formal methods for differential privacy face a dilemma: methods based on customized logics can verify sophisticated algorithms but come with a steep learning curve and significant annotation burden on the programmers, while existing programming platforms lack expressive power for some sophisticated algorithms.par In this paper, we present LightDP, a simple imperative language that strikes a better balance between expressive power and usability. The core of LightDP is a novel relational type system that separates relational reasoning from privacy budget calculations. With dependent types, the type system is powerful enough to verify sophisticated algorithms where the composition theorem falls short. In addition, the inference engine of LightDP infers most of the proof details, and even searches for the proof with minimal privacy cost when multiple proofs exist. We show that LightDP verifies sophisticated algorithms with little manual effort.