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Expanding our Differential Privacy Library

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

All developers have a responsibility to treat data with care and respect. Differential privacy helps organizations derive insights from data while simultaneously ensuring that those results do not allow any individual's data to be distinguished or re-identified. This principled approach supports data computation and analysis across many of Google’s core products and features.

Last summer, Google open sourced our foundational differential privacy library so developers and organizations around the world can benefit from this technology. Today, we’re announcing the addition of Go and Java to our library, an end-to-end solution for differential privacy: Privacy on Beam, and new tools to help developers implement this technology effectively.

We’ve listened to feedback from our developer community and, as of today, developers can now perform differentially private analysis in Java and Go. We’re working to bring these two libraries to full feature parity with C++.

We want all developers to have access to differential privacy, regardless of their level of expertise. Our new Privacy on Beam framework captures years of Googler developer experience and efficiency improvements in a comprehensive and easy-to-use solution that handles computation end-to-end. Built on Apache Beam, Privacy on Beam can reduce implementation mistakes, and take care of all the steps that are essential to differential privacy, including noise addition, partition selection, and contribution bounding. If you’re new to Apache Beam or differential privacy, our codelab can get you started.

Tracking privacy budgets is another challenge developers face when implementing differential privacy. So, we’re also releasing a new Privacy Loss Distribution tool for tracking privacy budgets. With this tool, developers can maintain an accurate estimate of the total cost to user privacy for collections of differentially private queries, and better evaluate the overall impact of their pipelines. Privacy Loss Distribution supports widely used mechanisms (such as Laplace, Gaussian, and Randomized response) and can scale to hundreds of compositions.

We hope these new languages, tools, and features unlock differential privacy for even more developers. Continue to share your stories and suggestions with us at dp-open-source@google.com—your feedback will help inform our future differential privacy launches and updates.

Acknowledgements

Software Engineers: Yurii Sushko, Daniel Simmons-Marengo, Christoph Dibak, Damien Desfontaines, Maria Telyatnikova
Research Scientists: Pasin Manurangsi, Ravi Kumar, Sergei Vassilvitskii, Alex Kulesza, Jenny Gillenwater, Kareem Amin


By: Miguel Guevara, Mirac Vuslat Basaran, Sasha Kulankhina, and Badih Ghazi – Google Privacy Team and Google Research

Welcoming 1,000+ Interns to Open Source at Google

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

One of the core tenets of open source is about finding ways for people to build great things by working together, regardless of location. This summer, through our intern program we’re gathering incredible talent from schools around the world, Googlers with a passion for open source, and project maintainers both inside and outside of Google to see what we can build together. 

Onboarding that many interns and turning them into new open source contributors was no easy task. So in partnership with the Intern Programs team and engineering teams across Google, we’ve grounded our planning by answering four key questions. 

How can we make our internship program a force for good in the open source ecosystem?

We knew that having more than a thousand interns contribute to open source projects could have a huge impact, however, many projects aren’t set up to onboard dozens of new contributors at one time and many maintainers can’t take on hundreds of new pull requests. Early on, we established best practices for intern placement and support. We committed to:
  • Aligning interns’ work with project priorities to advance the project while also allowing the interns to learn and grow their skills.
  • Proactively communicating with project maintainers and contributors, keeping them in the loop on timelines and logistics.
  • Looking beyond Google. While we prioritized projects that have full-time Google engineerings support. That includes Google-owned projects like Go, TensorFlow, and Chromium, as well as Google-created projects we invest heavily in, such as Kubernetes, Apache Beam, and Tekton. But Google also has full-time engineers working on outside projects we rely on, so our interns will also be working on projects like Envoy, Rust, and Apache Maven.

How can we introduce the interns to open source at Google?

We are determined to support and empower the interns as they become lifelong contributors to open source. Every Noogler in engineering learns about using and contributing to open source in a training run by our Open Source Programs Office. With an unprecedented number of interns working on open source projects, we are also providing additional resources; from offering a platform for questions, office hours, enrichment talks, and partnerships with external open source organizations.

How can we learn from our interns about the experience of contributing to open source at Google and beyond?

We see a huge opportunity to listen to our interns this summer. By meeting with interns and hosts—as well as surveying the entire class of interns at the end of the summer—we can look for ways to improve open source at Google and the contributor experience for projects they’re working on. We’re excited to learn from the internship program and from interns’ perspectives working in and contributing to open source.

How can we have an impact on these students that carries on throughout their careers?

One of my favorite questions to ask Googlers who are active in open source is how they were first introduced to open source. There’s a well-trodden path of a developer fixing an annoying bug, then a few more bugs, then adding small features, becoming a core contributor, and eventually a project maintainer. That process requires persistence and patience, and projects lose a lot of great developers along the way.

But... What if your first experience with open source is being welcomed into a large and thriving community of contributors? What if you get to contribute to open source full time, mentored by creators and maintainers of the project you’re working on, collaborating across organizations and across time zones? Our hope is that this kind of experience will leave a lasting impression on this summer’s interns and that they’ll continue to contribute to open source for a long time to come.

By Jen Phillips, Google Open Source

COVID-19: How Google is helping the open source community

Monday, June 22, 2020

COVID-19 has affected so much of the world around us, and open source is no exception. Project resilience is being challenged by COVID-19. Community members have even less time to contribute. Event cancellations are impacting networking, collaboration, and fundraising.


Google wants to do everything it can to help. This means that it’s even more important for the Google Open Source Programs Office to step up our commitment to citizenship. We’re taking several steps to support industry organizations and the projects that we participate in to help them operate during this time.

Virtual Events Support

  • Participating in talks internally and externally to Google to share knowledge and insight into open source projects and practices with the wider open source communities.
  • To support the shift from an offline to online events model, we created an online guide to share resources and event planning knowledge: Open Source Virtual Events Guide.

Talent

  • COVIDActNow is a multidisciplinary team working to provide disease intelligence and data analysis on COVID in the U.S. Google contributed to this project by improving their data pipeline allowing for county level data visualization, providing more localized insight for crisis planning.
  • Nextstrain is a platform for real-time tracking of pathogen evolution. Google contributed engineering, design, and translation resources to help scientists conduct research into real-time tracking of pathogen evolution.
  • Schema.org - Google led Schema.org rapid response designs for structured data markup to contribute to the COVID-19 global response, leading to the UK making similar announcements.
  • Google’s annual internship program was converted to a digital program where interns will focus on open source projects, allowing projects to gain new contributors in a non-traditional environment.
  • Google Summer of Code brings over 1100 university students from around the world together with open source communities, many of which are working on various humanitarian efforts related to COVID-19. The program is completely online so students can work with their mentors remotely, allowing all organizations to continue receiving the support they need.
The impact from COVID-19 will have long-term effects on many organizations and projects that may not be immediately apparent. In the coming months, we will monitor the needs of projects and organizations across open source. We understand the value of open source not just to the tech world, but the impact it has on bringing communities together; Google has a long standing history in open source and we will continue supporting our community to stay strong during and after the passing of COVID-19.

We encourage folks who have the time and ability to support open source communities to do so by getting involved and reaching out directly to organizations that interest you. This is a time for all of us to come together and lift up each other and open source.

By Megan Byrd-Sanicki and Radha Jhatakia, Google Open Source
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