Paper 2020/159

Privacy-preserving collaborative machine learning on genomic data using TensorFlow

Cheng Hong, Zhicong Huang, Wen-jie Lu, Hunter Qu, Li Ma, Morten Dahl, and Jason Mancuso


Machine learning (ML) methods have been widely used in genomic studies. However, genomic data are often held by different stakeholders (e.g. hospitals, universities, and healthcare companies) who consider the data as sensitive information, even though they desire to collaborate. To address this issue, recent works have proposed solutions using Secure Multi-party Computation (MPC), which train on the decentralized data in a way that the participants could learn nothing from each other beyond the final trained model. We design and implement several MPC-friendly ML primitives, including class weight adjustment and parallelizable approximation of activation function. In addition, we develop the solution as an extension to TF Encrypted (Dahl et al., 2018), enabling us to quickly experiment with enhancements of both machine learning techniques and cryptographic protocols while leveraging the advantages of TensorFlow’s optimizations. Our implementation compares favorably with state-ofthe-art methods, winning first place in Track IV of the iDASH2019 secure genome analysis competition. 1

Note: Description of the winning solution at Track IV of iDASH competition 2019

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Publication info
Published elsewhere.
Machine learningMPC
Contact author(s)
vince hc @ alibaba-inc com
2020-02-13: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Cheng Hong and Zhicong Huang and Wen-jie Lu and Hunter Qu and Li Ma and Morten Dahl and Jason Mancuso},
      title = {Privacy-preserving collaborative machine learning on genomic data using TensorFlow},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2020/159},
      year = {2020},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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