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Empirical Risk Minimization Under Fairness Constraints
Michele Donini · Luca Oneto · Shai Ben-David · John Shawe-Taylor · Massimiliano Pontil

Tue Dec 04 02:00 PM -- 04:00 PM (PST) @ Room 517 AB #133

We address the problem of algorithmic fairness: ensuring that sensitive information does not unfairly influence the outcome of a classifier. We present an approach based on empirical risk minimization, which incorporates a fairness constraint into the learning problem. It encourages the conditional risk of the learned classifier to be approximately constant with respect to the sensitive variable. We derive both risk and fairness bounds that support the statistical consistency of our methodology. We specify our approach to kernel methods and observe that the fairness requirement implies an orthogonality constraint which can be easily added to these methods. We further observe that for linear models the constraint translates into a simple data preprocessing step. Experiments indicate that the method is empirically effective and performs favorably against state-of-the-art approaches.

Author Information

Michele Donini (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia )
Luca Oneto (University of Genoa)
Shai Ben-David (Universitys of Waterloo)
John Shawe-Taylor (UCL)

John Shawe-Taylor has contributed to fields ranging from graph theory through cryptography to statistical learning theory and its applications. However, his main contributions have been in the development of the analysis and subsequent algorithmic definition of principled machine learning algorithms founded in statistical learning theory. This work has helped to drive a fundamental rebirth in the field of machine learning with the introduction of kernel methods and support vector machines, driving the mapping of these approaches onto novel domains including work in computer vision, document classification, and applications in biology and medicine focussed on brain scan, immunity and proteome analysis. He has published over 300 papers and two books that have together attracted over 60000 citations. He has also been instrumental in assembling a series of influential European Networks of Excellence. The scientific coordination of these projects has influenced a generation of researchers and promoted the widespread uptake of machine learning in both science and industry that we are currently witnessing.

Massimiliano Pontil (IIT)

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