Zero-knowledge Proofs in Machine Learning

Zero-knowledge Proofs in Machine Learning

Zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) are cryptographic protocols that allow one party (the prover) to prove to another party (the verifier) that they know a value x, without conveying any information apart from the fact that they know the value x. In the context of machine learning (ML), ZKPs can be used to ensure privacy and security in data sharing and model training.


Zero-knowledge proofs in machine learning are a method of ensuring data privacy during model training and inference. They allow a data owner to prove the correctness of a computation (such as a machine learning model’s prediction) without revealing any information about the data or the computation itself. This is particularly useful in scenarios where sensitive data is involved, such as healthcare or financial data.

How it Works

In a typical machine learning scenario, the data owner (prover) wants to use a machine learning model owned by a service provider (verifier) without revealing their data. The prover can use a zero-knowledge proof to show that they have correctly computed the model’s prediction on their data, without revealing the data or the prediction itself.

The process involves three steps:

  1. Commitment: The prover commits to a certain value (the data or prediction) without revealing it.
  2. Challenge: The verifier sends a random challenge to the prover.
  3. Response: The prover responds to the challenge in a way that proves they know the committed value, without revealing it.


Zero-knowledge proofs in machine learning have a wide range of applications, particularly in privacy-preserving machine learning and federated learning. They can be used to:

  • Preserve data privacy: ZKPs can be used to train machine learning models on encrypted data, ensuring that the data remains private even during computation.
  • Prevent model stealing: By using ZKPs, a service provider can prove the correctness of their model’s predictions without revealing the model itself, preventing model stealing.
  • Enable secure multi-party computation: ZKPs can be used in multi-party computation scenarios, where multiple parties want to compute a function on their joint data without revealing their individual data.


While zero-knowledge proofs offer strong privacy guarantees, they also have some limitations. They can be computationally intensive, making them impractical for large-scale machine learning tasks. Additionally, they require the prover and verifier to engage in an interactive protocol, which can be challenging in distributed settings.

Future Directions

Despite these limitations, the field of zero-knowledge proofs in machine learning is rapidly evolving. Researchers are developing more efficient zero-knowledge proof systems and exploring their use in new applications, such as privacy-preserving deep learning and secure multi-party computation. As machine learning continues to be applied in increasingly sensitive domains, the importance of techniques like zero-knowledge proofs is only set to grow.