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  1. Fairness has become an important topic in machine learning. Generally, most literature on fairness assumes that the sensitive information, such as gender or race, is present in the training set, and uses this information to mitigate bias. However, due to practical concerns like privacy and regulation, applications of these methods are restricted. Also, although much of the literature studies supervised learning, in many real-world scenarios, we want to utilize the large unlabelled dataset to improve the model's accuracy. Can we improve fair classification without sensitive information and without labels? To tackle the problem, in this paper, we propose a novel reweighing-based contrastive learning method. The goal of our method is to learn a generally fair representation without observing sensitive attributes.Our method assigns weights to training samples per iteration based on their gradient directions relative to the validation samples such that the average top-k validation loss is minimized. Compared with past fairness methods without demographics, our method is built on fully unsupervised training data and requires only a small labelled validation set. We provide rigorous theoretical proof of the convergence of our model. Experimental results show that our proposed method achieves better or comparable performance than state-of-the-art methods on three datasets in terms of accuracy and several fairness metrics. 
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  2. Most of existing work on fairness assumes available demographic information in the training set. In practice, due to legal or privacy concerns, when demographic information is not available in the training set, it is crucial to find alternative objectives to ensure fairness. Existing work on fairness without demographics follows Rawlsian Max-Min fairness objectives. However, such constraints could be too strict to improve group fairness, and could lead to a great decrease in accuracy. In light of these limitations, in this paper, we propose to solve the problem from a new perspective, i.e., through knowledge distillation. Our method uses soft label from an overfitted teacher model as an alternative, and we show from preliminary experiments that soft labelling is beneficial for improving fairness. We analyze theoretically the fairness of our method, and we show that our method can be treated as an error-based reweighing. Experimental results on three datasets show that our method outperforms state-of-the-art alternatives, with notable improvements in group fairness and with relatively small decrease in accuracy. 
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  3. Embryonic development is a complex phenomenon that integrates genetic regulation and biomechanical cellular behaviors. However, the relative influence of these factors on spatiotemporal morphogen distributions is not well understood. Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) are the primary morphogens guiding the dorsal-ventral (DV) patterning of the early zebrafish embryo, and BMP signaling is regulated by a network of extracellular and intracellular factors that impact the range and signaling of BMP ligands. Recent advances in understanding the mechanism of pattern formation support a source-sink mechanism, however, it is not clear how the source-sink mechanism shapes the morphogen patterns in three-dimensional (3D) space, nor how sensitive the pattern is to biophysical rates and boundary conditions along both the anteroposterior (AP) and DV axes of the embryo, nor how the patterns are controlled over time. Throughout blastulation and gastrulation, major cell movement, known as epiboly, happens along with the BMP-mediated DV patterning. The layer of epithelial cells begins to thin as they spread toward the vegetal pole of the embryo until it has completely engulfed the yolk cell. This dynamic domain may influence the distributions of BMP network members through advection. We developed a Finite Element Model (FEM) that incorporates all stages of zebrafish embryonic development data and solves the advection-diffusion-reaction Partial Differential Equations (PDE) in a growing domain. We use the model to investigate mechanisms in underlying BMP-driven DV patterning during epiboly. Solving the PDE is computationally expensive for parameter exploration. To overcome this obstacle, we developed a Neural Network (NN) metamodel of the 3D embryo that is accurate and fast and provided a nonlinear map between high-dimensional input and output that replaces the direct numerical simulation of the PDEs. From the modeling and acceleration by the NN metamodels, we identified the impact of advection on patterning and the influence of the dynamic expression level of regulators on the BMP signaling network. 
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