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  1. Summary Estimators based on Wasserstein distributionally robust optimization are obtained as solutions of min-max problems in which the statistician selects a parameter minimizing the worst-case loss among all probability models within a certain distance from the underlying empirical measure in a Wasserstein sense. While motivated by the need to identify optimal model parameters or decision choices that are robust to model misspecification, these distributionally robust estimators recover a wide range of regularized estimators, including square-root lasso and support vector machines, among others. This paper studies the asymptotic normality of these distributionally robust estimators as well as the properties of an optimal confidence region induced by the Wasserstein distributionally robust optimization formulation. In addition, key properties of min-max distributionally robust optimization problems are also studied; for example, we show that distributionally robust estimators regularize the loss based on its derivative, and we also derive general sufficient conditions which show the equivalence between the min-max distributionally robust optimization problem and the corresponding max-min formulation.
  2. Meila, Marina and (Ed.)
    InProceedings{pmlr-v139-si21a, title = {}, author = {}, booktitle = {}, pages = {9649--9659}, We have developed a statistical testing framework to detect if a given machine learning classifier fails to satisfy a wide range of group fairness notions. Our test is a flexible, interpretable, and statistically rigorous tool for auditing whether exhibited biases are intrinsic to the algorithm or simply due to the randomness in the data. The statistical challenges, which may arise from multiple impact criteria that define group fairness and which are discontinuous on model parameters, are conveniently tackled by projecting the empirical measure to the set of group-fair probability models using optimal transport. This statistic is efficiently computed using linear programming, and its asymptotic distribution is explicitly obtained. The proposed framework can also be used to test for composite fairness hypotheses and fairness with multiple sensitive attributes. The optimal transport testing formulation improves interpretability by characterizing the minimal covariate perturbations that eliminate the bias observed in the audit.
  3. Some recent works showed that several machine learning algorithms, such as square-root Lasso, Support Vector Machines, and regularized logistic regression, among many others, can be represented exactly as distributionally robust optimization (DRO) problems. The distributional uncertainty set is defined as a neighborhood centered at the empirical distribution, and the neighborhood is measured by optimal transport distance. In this paper, we propose a methodology which learns such neighborhood in a natural data-driven way. We show rigorously that our framework encompasses adaptive regularization as a particular case. Moreover, we demonstrate empirically that our proposed methodology is able to improve upon a wide range of popular machine learning estimators.
  4. Abstract We show that several machine learning estimators, including square-root least absolute shrinkage and selection and regularized logistic regression, can be represented as solutions to distributionally robust optimization problems. The associated uncertainty regions are based on suitably defined Wasserstein distances. Hence, our representations allow us to view regularization as a result of introducing an artificial adversary that perturbs the empirical distribution to account for out-of-sample effects in loss estimation. In addition, we introduce RWPI (robust Wasserstein profile inference), a novel inference methodology which extends the use of methods inspired by empirical likelihood to the setting of optimal transport costs (of which Wasserstein distances are a particular case). We use RWPI to show how to optimally select the size of uncertainty regions, and as a consequence we are able to choose regularization parameters for these machine learning estimators without the use of cross validation. Numerical experiments are also given to validate our theoretical findings.