An introduction to federated computation, June 2022. Tutorial presented at SIGMOD and the Web Conference.

Federated Computation is an emerging area that seeks to provide stronger privacy for user data, by performing large scale, distributed computations where the data remains in the hands of users. Only the necessary summary information is shared, and additional security and privacy tools can be employed to provide strong guarantees of secrecy. The most prominent application of federated computation is in training machine learning models (federated learning), but many additional applications are emerging, more broadly relevant to data management and querying data. This tutorial gives an overview of federated computation models and algorithms. It includes an introduction to security and privacy techniques and guarantees, and shows how they can be applied to solve a variety of distributed computations providing statistics and insights to distributed data. It also discusses the issues that arise when implementing systems to support federated computation, and open problems for future research.

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