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Creators/Authors contains: "Wang, Nan"

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  7. Most real-world optimization problems have multiple objectives. A system designer needs to find a policy that trades off these objectives to reach a desired operating point. This problem has been studied extensively in the setting of known objective functions. However, we consider a more practical but challenging setting of unknown objective functions. In industry, optimization under this setting is mostly approached with online A/B testing, which is often costly and inefficient. As an alternative, we propose Interactive Multi-Objective Off-policy Optimization (IMO^3). The key idea of IMO^3 is to interact with a system designer using policies evaluated in an off-policy fashion to uncover which policy maximizes her unknown utility function. We theoretically show that IMO^3 identifies a near-optimal policy with high probability, depending on the amount of designer's feedback and training data for off-policy estimation. We demonstrate its effectiveness empirically on several multi-objective optimization problems.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  8. Graph embedding techniques are pivotal in real-world machine learning tasks that operate on graph-structured data, such as social recommendation and protein structure modeling. Embeddings are mostly performed on the node level for learning representations of each node. Since the formation of a graph is inevitably affected by certain sensitive node attributes, the node embeddings can inherit such sensitive information and introduce undesirable biases in downstream tasks. Most existing works impose ad-hoc constraints on the node embeddings to restrict their distributions for unbiasedness/fairness, which however compromise the utility of the resulting embeddings. In this paper, we propose a principled new way for unbiased graph embedding by learning node embeddings from an underlying bias-free graph, which is not influenced by sensitive node attributes. Motivated by this new perspective, we propose two complementary methods for uncovering such an underlying graph, with the goal of introducing minimum impact on the utility of the embeddings. Both our theoretical justification and extensive experimental comparisons against state-of-the-art solutions demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed methods.
  9. As recommendation is essentially a comparative (or ranking) process, a good explanation should illustrate to users why an item is believed to be better than another, i.e., comparative explanations about the recommended items. Ideally, after reading the explanations, a user should reach the same ranking of items as the system’s. Unfortunately, little research attention has yet been paid on such comparative explanations. In this work, we develop an extract-and-refine architecture to explain the relative comparisons among a set of ranked items from a recommender system. For each recommended item, we first extract one sentence from its associated reviews that best suits the desired comparison against a set of reference items. Then this extracted sentence is further articulated with respect to the target user through a generative model to better explain why the item is recommended. We design a new explanation quality metric based on BLEU to guide the end-to-end training of the extraction and refinement components, which avoids generation of generic content. Extensive offline evaluations on two large recommendation benchmark datasets and serious user studies against an array of state-of-the-art explainable recommendation algorithms demonstrate the necessity of comparative explanations and the effectiveness of our solution.
  10. Abstract Shortwave solar irradiance through building windows may have significant impacts on indoor thermal comfort, especially in near-window zones. Such effects change with intensity and spectral variations of the solar irradiance incident on building windows, which is related to the day of the year, time of day, orientation and dimension of the window, and atmospheric conditions. To assess the effects on thermal comfort, we derived a variable - mean radiant temperature delta based on a proposed spectrally-resolved method to represent the quantity of shortwave solar irradiance incident on occupants and be incorporated into PMV (predicted mean votes)-based thermal comfort models. By characterizing the variations of the calculated PMV values under different solar conditions, the influencing factors to indoor thermal comfort by shortwave solar irradiance were obtained and analyzed. Last, upon a series of parametric settings and numerical analysis, simplified statistical regression models were also established to directly predict spectrally-resolved mean radiant temperature delta and PMV values. This could be convenient and extensively to estimate the solar effects on indoor thermal comfort within the near-window zones.