Data Privacy (Spring 2022)

How can we learn from data collected from individuals while ensuring their privacy? The course explores this question, starting from privacy attacks to rigorous state-of-the-art solutions using differential privacy. The class will talk about both theoretical foundations and practical issues in real-world applications. Prerequisites include basic knowledge of coding (e.g., Python) and be comfortable reading and writing proofs involving algorithms and probability.



Schedule (tentative, subject to change), we will meet both in-person and using Zoom

Week Dates Monday Wednesday
1 Jan 17 - Jan 21 No Class Introduction, Machine Learning Privacy Zoom
2 Jan 24 - Jan 28 Guest Lecture: Machine Learning meets Security and Privacy: Opportunities and Challenges (by Jinyuan Jia) Zoom Differential Privacy, Laplace mechanism Zoom
3 Jan 31 - Feb 4 Exponential mechanism, Report-noisy-max, Sparse vector technique (SVT) Zoom Local Differential Privacy Zoom
4 Feb 7 - Feb 11 Local Differential Privacy Zoom Guest Lecture: Bargav Jayaraman
5 Feb 14 - Feb 18 Graphs with Differential Privacy (by Dung Nguyen) Guest Lecture: Varun Chandrasekaran
6 Feb 21 - Feb 25 (Project Proposal Due)  
7 Feb 28 - Mar 4    
8 Mar 7 - Mar 11 Spring break Spring break
9 Mar 14 - Mar 18    
10 Mar 21 - Mar 25    
11 Mar 28 - Apr 1 (Project Progress Report Due)  
12 Apr 4 - Apr 8    
13 Apr 11 - Apr 15    
14 Apr 18 - Apr 22    
15 Apr 25 - Apr 29    
16 May 2 - May 6 Last meeting  
17 May 9 - May 12 (Project Report Due)  

More recourses


More courses on other flavors

Course Policy

Academic Integrity

The School of Engineering and Applied Science relies upon and cherishes its community of trust. We firmly endorse, uphold, and embrace the University’s Honor principle that students will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor shall they tolerate those who do. We recognize that even one honor infraction can destroy an exemplary reputation that has taken years to build. Acting in a manner consistent with the principles of honor will benefit every member of the community both while enrolled in the Engineering School and in the future. Students are expected to be familiar with the university honor code, including the section on academic fraud.

Students with disabilities or learning needs

It is my goal to create a learning experience that is as accessible as possible. If you anticipate any issues related to the format, materials, or requirements of this course, please meet with me outside of class so we can explore potential options. Students with disabilities may also wish to work with the Student Disability Access Center to discuss a range of options to removing barriers in this course, including official accommodations. Please visit their website for information on this process and to apply for services online. If you have already been approved for accommodations through SDAC, please send me your accommodation letter and meet with me so we can develop an implementation plan together.

Discrimination and power-based violence

The University of Virginia is dedicated to providing a safe and equitable learning environment for all students. To that end, it is vital that you know two values that I and the University hold as critically important:

  1. Power-based personal violence will not be tolerated.
  2. Everyone has a responsibility to do their part to maintain a safe community on Grounds.

If you or someone you know has been affected by power-based personal violence, more information can be found on the UVA Sexual Violence website that describes reporting options and resources available.

As your professor and as a person, know that I care about you and your well-being and stand ready to provide support and resources as I can. As a faculty member, I am a responsible employee, which means that I am required by University policy and federal law to report what you tell me to the University’s Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator’s job is to ensure that the reporting student receives the resources and support that they need, while also reviewing the information presented to determine whether further action is necessary to ensure survivor safety and the safety of the University community. If you wish to report something that you have seen, you can do so at the Just Report It portal. The worst possible situation would be for you or your friend to remain silent when so many here are willing and able to help.

Religious accommodations

It is the University’s long-standing policy and practice to reasonably accommodate students so that they do not experience an adverse academic consequence when sincerely held religious beliefs or observances conflict with academic requirements. Students who wish to request academic accommodation for a religious observance should submit their request in writing directly to me (through email or Piazza private message) as far in advance as possible. Students who have questions or concerns about academic accommodations for religious observance or religious beliefs may contact the University’s Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights (EOCR) at or 434-924-3200.

Student support team

You have many resources available to you when you experience academic or personal stresses. In addition to your professor, the School of Engineering and Applied Science offers free tutoring, and has three staff members located in Thornton Hall who you can contact to help manage academic or personal challenges. Please do not wait until the end of the semester to ask for help!

Lisa Lampe, Director of Undergraduate Education (academic), Blake Calhoun, Director of Undergraduate Success (academic), Alex Hall, Assistant Dean of Students (non-academic issues),

In addition to having an Assistant Dean of Students embedded in Engineering, we are also fortunate to have two CAPS counsellors embedded in our School. You may schedule time with Elizabeth Ramirez-Weaver or Katie Fowler through Student Health. When scheduling, be sure to specify that you are an Engineering student. You are also urged to use TimelyCare for either scheduled or on-demand 24/7 mental health care.

Finally, the Center for Diversity in Engineering facilitates free tutoring during the academic year, helps students locate internships and research opportunities, and connects students with the many organizations on Grounds that provide information and support. The center also engages with student organizations, particularly those serving students who are traditionally underrepresented in engineering.

Support for your career development

Your career development path may take you beyond the confines of UVA. Perhaps you applied for an internship and your interview is taking place in-person across the country. Maybe you submitted an abstract to a national technical conference and you have been asked to present your work. These are not only necessary steps on your path but are also invaluable lessons in and of themselves. I wish to encourage and support you in travel related to your career development. To that end, if you notify me at least one-week in advance of such an event, I will offer you the choice of either (1) completing assignments remotely, or (2) delaying assignment, exam, or quiz dates until at least 48 hours after your return.

This offer comes with caveats: (1) Extensions will not normally be granted for a team activity when only one member is traveling. (2) The delay will not extend beyond the last day of finals for the semester.