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Workshop: Algorithmic Fairness through the Lens of Time

Fairer and More Accurate Models Through NAS

Richeek Das · Samuel Dooley

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[ Poster
presentation: Algorithmic Fairness through the Lens of Time
Fri 15 Dec 7 a.m. PST — 3:30 p.m. PST


Making models algorithmically fairer in tabular data has been long studied, with techniques typically oriented towards fixes which usually take a neural model with an undesirable outcome and make changes to how the data are ingested, what the model weights are, or how outputs are processed. We employ an emergent and different strategy where we consider updating the model's architecture and training hyperparameters to find an entirely new model with better outcomes from the beginning of the debiasing procedure. In this work, we propose using multi-objective Neural Architecture Search (NAS) and Hyperparameter Optimization (HPO) in the first application to the very challenging domain of tabular data. We conduct extensive exploration of architectural and hyperparameter spaces (MLP, ResNet, and FT-Transformer) across diverse datasets, demonstrating the dependence of accuracy and fairness metrics of model predictions on hyperparameter combinations. We show that models optimized solely for accuracy with NAS often fail to inherently address fairness concerns. We propose a novel approach that jointly optimizes architectural and training hyperparameters in a multi-objective constraint of both accuracy and fairness. We produce architectures that consistently Pareto dominate state-of-the-art bias mitigation methods either in fairness, accuracy or both, all of this while being Pareto-optimal over hyperparameters achieved through single-objective (accuracy) optimization runs. This research underscores the promise of automating fairness and accuracy optimization in deep learning models.

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