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Title: The Rich Get Richer: Disparate Impact of Semi-Supervised Learning
Semi-supervised learning (SSL) has demonstrated its potential to improve the model accuracy for a variety of learning tasks when the high-quality supervised data is severely limited. Although it is often established that the average accuracy for the entire population of data is improved, it is unclear how SSL fares with different sub-populations. Understanding the above question has substantial fairness implications when different sub-populations are defined by the demographic groups that we aim to treat fairly. In this paper, we reveal the disparate impacts of deploying SSL: the sub-population who has a higher baseline accuracy without using SSL (the "rich" one) tends to benefit more from SSL; while the sub-population who suffers from a low baseline accuracy (the "poor" one) might even observe a performance drop after adding the SSL module. We theoretically and empirically establish the above observation for a broad family of SSL algorithms, which either explicitly or implicitly use an auxiliary "pseudo-label". Experiments on a set of image and text classification tasks confirm our claims. We introduce a new metric, Benefit Ratio, and promote the evaluation of the fairness of SSL (Equalized Benefit Ratio). We further discuss how the disparate impact can be mitigated. We hope our paper will alarm the potential pitfall of using SSL and encourage a multifaceted evaluation of future SSL algorithms.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2040800 2143895
NSF-PAR ID:
10403105
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR)
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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The breast corpus subset should be released by November 2021. By December 2021 we should also release the unannotated FCCC data. We are currently annotating urinary tract data as well. We expect to release about 5,600 processed TUH slides in this subset. We have an additional 53,000 unprocessed TUH slides digitized. Corpora of this size will stimulate the development of a new generation of deep learning technology. In clinical settings where resources are limited, an assistive diagnoses model could support pathologists’ workload and even help prioritize suspected cancerous cases. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This material is supported by the National Science Foundation under grants nos. CNS-1726188 and 1925494. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. REFERENCES [1] N. Shawki et al., “The Temple University Digital Pathology Corpus,” in Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology: Emerging Trends in Research and Applications, 1st ed., I. Obeid, I. Selesnick, and J. Picone, Eds. New York City, New York, USA: Springer, 2020, pp. 67 104. https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030368432. [2] J. Picone, T. Farkas, I. Obeid, and Y. Persidsky, “MRI: High Performance Digital Pathology Using Big Data and Machine Learning.” Major Research Instrumentation (MRI), Division of Computer and Network Systems, Award No. 1726188, January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2021. https://www. isip.piconepress.com/projects/nsf_dpath/. [3] A. Gulati et al., “Conformer: Convolution-augmented Transformer for Speech Recognition,” in Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH), 2020, pp. 5036-5040. https://doi.org/10.21437/interspeech.2020-3015. [4] C.-J. 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