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Department of Computer Science Colloquium
2009 Series

Near-Optimal Random Perturbation at Multiple Privacy Levels

Dr. Xiao Xiaokui
School of Computer Engineering
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Date: December 10, 2009 (Thursday)
Time: 2:30 - 3:30 pm
Venue: SCT909, Cha Chi Ming Science Tower, Ho Sin Hang Campus

Numerous organizations, like census bureaus and hospitals, maintain large collections of personal information (e.g., census data and medical records). Such data collections are of significant research value, and there is much benefit in making them publicly available. Nevertheless, as the data are sensitive in nature, proper measures must be taken to ensure that their publication does not endanger the privacy of the individuals that contributed the data. A canonical solution to this problem is to modify the data before releasing them to the public, such that the modification prevents inference of private information while retaining statistical characteristics of the data.

In this talk, I will focus on random perturbation, a classic modification technique for privacy preserving data publishing. I will first explain how random perturbation works, and then point out its crucial deficiency: It fails to protect privacy when it is used to publish multiple versions of the data to users that are unequally trusted. After that, I will present a solution that not only remedies the deficiency of random perturbation, but also achieves near-optimal space and time efficiency. Finally, I will conclude the talk with some directions for future work.

Xiaokui Xiao is an assistant professor at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He received his PhD degree from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2008. Before joining NTU in 2009, he was a postdoctoral associate at the Cornell University. His research focuses on database management, especially on data privacy and spatial databases. He has published extensively and exclusively in the premier database conferences and journals, including ACM SIGMOD, VLDB, IEEE ICDE, ACM TODS, VLDB Journal, and IEEE TKDE. Several of his papers have received more than 100 citations in the past few years (according to Google Scholar). He was the winner of the 2009 Hong Kong Young Scientist Award in Physical/Mathematical Science (conferred by the Hong Kong Institute of Sicence) and the 2009 ACM-HK Prof. Francis Chin Research Award (conferred by the Hong Kong Chapter of the ACM).

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