Hello, I’m Jonas. I work in computer science as postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland, College Park. My background is in Mathematics, more specifically in mathematical optimization and I am interested in research that intersects current deep learning and mathematical optimization in general, but also in the implications of optimization in machine learning for the design of secure and private ML systems.
As such I’ve done work ranging from understanding the impact of optimization on fundamental phenomena behind generalization in deep learning, to practical optimization strategies that show vulnerabilities in user privacy for federated learning.
You can find code for our research here: github.com/JonasGeiping
For recent publications, check here: scholar.google.com/citations?user=206vNCEAAAAJ
If you have research questions, feel free to reach out anytime via email or twitter!
Dr. rer. nat. in Computer Science, 2016-2021
University of Siegen
M.Sc. in Mathematics, 2014-2016
University of Münster (WWU)
B.Sc. in Mathematics, 2011-2014
University of Münster (WWU)
Recent trends in language modeling have focused on increasing performance through scaling, and have resulted in an environment where training language models is out of reach for most researchers and practitioners. While most in the community are asking how to push the limits of extreme computation, we ask the opposite question: How far can we get with a single GPU in just one day? We investigate the downstream performance achievable with a transformer-based language model trained completely from scratch with masked language modeling for a single day on a single consumer GPU. Aside from re-analyzing nearly all components of the pretraining pipeline for this scenario and providing a modified pipeline with performance close to BERT, we investigate why scaling down is hard, and which modifications actually improve performance in this scenario. We provide evidence that even in this constrained setting, performance closely follows scaling laws observed in large-compute settings. Through the lens of scaling laws, we categorize a range of recent improvements to training and architecture and discuss their merit and practical applicability (or lack thereof) for the limited compute setting.
As federated learning (FL) matures, privacy attacks against FL systems in turn become more numerous and complex. Attacks on language models have progressed from recovering single sentences in simple classification tasks to recovering larger parts of user data. Current attacks against federated language models are sequence-agnostic and aim to extract as much data as possible from an FL update - often at the expense of fidelity for any particular sequence. Because of this, current attacks fail to extract any meaningful data under large-scale aggregation. In realistic settings, an attacker cares most about a small portion of user data that contains sensitive personal information, for example sequences containing the phrase ``my credit card number is …". In this work, we propose the first attack on FL that achieves targeted extraction of sequences that contain privacy-critical phrases, whereby we employ maliciously modified parameters to allow the transformer itself to filter relevant sequences from aggregated user data and encode them in the gradient update. Our attack can effectively extract sequences of interest even against extremely large-scale aggregation.
Despite the clear performance benefits of data augmentations, little is known about why they are so effective. In this paper, we disentangle several key mechanisms through which data augmentations operate. Establishing an exchange rate between augmented and additional real data, we find that in out-of-distribution testing scenarios, augmentations which yield samples that are diverse, but inconsistent with the data distribution can be even more valuable than additional training data. Moreover, we find that data augmentations which encourage invariances can be more valuable than invariance alone, especially on small and medium sized training sets. Following this observation, we show that augmentations induce additional stochasticity during training, effectively flattening the loss landscape.
A central tenet of Federated learning (FL), which trains models without centralizing user data, is privacy. However, previous work has shown that the gradient updates used in FL can leak user information. While the most industrial uses of FL are for text applications (e.g. keystroke prediction), nearly all attacks on FL privacy have focused on simple image classifiers. We propose a novel attack that reveals private user text by deploying malicious parameter vectors, and which succeeds even with mini-batches, multiple users, and long sequences. Unlike previous attacks on FL, the attack exploits characteristics of both the Transformer architecture and the token embedding, separately extracting tokens and positional embeddings to retrieve high-fidelity text. This work suggests that FL on text, which has historically been resistant to privacy attacks, is far more vulnerable than previously thought.
Privacy and Security Analysis in Federated Learningabout our recent work in federated learning.