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We study the problem of online prediction, in which at each time step t, an individual xt arrives, whose label we must predict. Each individual is associated with various groups, defined based on their features such as age, sex, race etc., which may intersect. Our goal is to make predictions that have regret guarantees not just overall but also simultaneously on each subsequence comprised of the members of any single group. Previous work such as [Blum & Lykouris] and [Lee et al] provide attractive regret guarantees for these problems; however, these are computationally intractable on large model classes. We show that a simple modification of the sleeping experts technique of [Blum & Lykouris] yields an efficient reduction to the wellunderstood problem of obtaining diminishing external regret absent group considerations. Our approach gives similar regret guarantees compared to [Blum & Lykouris]; however, we run in time linear in the number of groups, and are oracleefficient in the hypothesis class. This in particular implies that our algorithm is efficient whenever the number of groups is polynomially bounded and the externalregret problem can be solved efficiently, an improvement on [Blum & Lykouris]'s stronger condition that the model class must be small. Our approach can handle online linear regression and online combinatorial optimization problems like online shortest paths. Beyond providing theoretical regret bounds, we evaluate this algorithm with an extensive set of experiments on synthetic data and on two real data sets  Medical costs and the Adult income dataset, both instantiated with intersecting groups defined in terms of race, sex, and other demographic characteristics. We find that uniformly across groups, our algorithm gives substantial error improvements compared to running a standard online linear regression algorithm with no groupwise regret guarantees.more » « lessFree, publiclyaccessible full text available January 1, 2025

We present a stylized model with feedback loops for the evolution of a population's wealth over generations. Individuals have both talent and wealth: talent is a random variable distributed identically for everyone, but wealth is a random variable that is dependent on the population one is born into. Individuals then apply to a downstream agent, which we treat as a university throughout the paper (but could also represent an employer) who makes a decision about whether to admit them or not. The university does not directly observe talent or wealth, but rather a signal (representing e.g. a standardized test) that is a convex combination of both. The university knows the distributions from which an individual's type and wealth are drawn, and makes its decisions based on the posterior distribution of the applicant's characteristics conditional on their population and signal. Each population's wealth distribution at the next round then depends on the fraction of that population that was admitted by the university at the previous round. We study wealth dynamics in this model, and give conditions under which the dynamics have a single attracting fixed point (which implies population wealth inequality is transitory), and conditions under which it can have multiple attracting fixed points (which implies that population wealth inequality can be persistent). In the case in which there are multiple attracting fixed points, we study interventions aimed at eliminating or mitigating inequality, including increasing the capacity of the university to admit more people, aligning the signal generated by individuals with the preferences of the university, and making direct monetary transfers to the less wealthy population.more » « less

We consider an online learning problem with onesided feedback, in which the learner is able to observe the true label only for positively predicted instances. On each round, k instances arrive and receive classification outcomes according to a randomized policy deployed by the learner, whose goal is to maximize accuracy while deploying individually fair policies. We first extend the framework of Bechavod et al. (2020), which relies on the existence of a human fairness auditor for detecting fairness violations, to instead incorporate feedback from dynamicallyselected panels of multiple, possibly inconsistent, auditors. We then construct an efficient reduction from our problem of online learning with onesided feedback and a panel reporting fairness violations to the contextual combinatorial semibandit problem (CesaBianchi & Lugosi, 2009, György et al., 2007). Finally, we show how to leverage the guarantees of two algorithms in the contextual combinatorial semibandit setting: Exp2 (Bubeck et al., 2012) and the oracleefficient ContextSemiBanditFTPL (Syrgkanis et al., 2016), to provide multicriteria no regret guarantees simultaneously for accuracy and fairness. Our results eliminate two potential sources of bias from prior work: the "hidden outcomes" that are not available to an algorithm operating in the full information setting, and human biases that might be present in any single human auditor, but can be mitigated by selecting a well chosen panel.more » « less

We develop fast distributionfree conformal prediction algorithms for obtaining multivalid coverage on exchangeable data in the batch setting. Multivalid coverage guarantees are stronger than marginal coverage guarantees in two ways: (1) They hold even conditional on group membershipthat is, the target coverage level holds conditionally on membership in each of an arbitrary (potentially intersecting) group in a finite collection of regions in the feature space. (2) They hold even conditional on the value of the threshold used to produce the prediction set on a given example. In fact multivalid coverage guarantees hold even when conditioning on group membership and threshold value simultaneously. We give two algorithms: both take as input an arbitrary nonconformity score and an arbitrary collection of possibly intersecting groups , and then can equip arbitrary blackbox predictors with prediction sets. Our first algorithm is a direct extension of quantile regression, needs to solve only a single convex minimization problem, and produces an estimator which has groupconditional guarantees for each group in . Our second algorithm is iterative, and gives the full guarantees of multivalid conformal prediction: prediction sets that are valid conditionally both on group membership and nonconformity threshold. We evaluate the performance of both of our algorithms in an extensive set of experiments.more » « less

We study the connection between multicalibration and boosting for squared error regression. First we prove a useful characterization of multicalibration in terms of a ``swap regret'' like condition on squared error. Using this characterization, we give an exceedingly simple algorithm that can be analyzed both as a boosting algorithm for regression and as a multicalibration algorithm for a class H that makes use only of a standard squared error regression oracle for H. We give a weak learning assumption on H that ensures convergence to Bayes optimality without the need to make any realizability assumptions  giving us an agnostic boosting algorithm for regression. We then show that our weak learning assumption on H is both necessary and sufficient for multicalibration with respect to H to imply Bayes optimality. We also show that if H satisfies our weak learning condition relative to another class C then multicalibration with respect to H implies multicalibration with respect to C. Finally we investigate the empirical performance of our algorithm experimentally using an open source implementation that we make available.more » « less

We study a game theoretic model of standardized testing for college admissions. Students are of two types; High and Low. There is a college that would like to admit the High type students. Students take a potentially costly standardized exam which provides a noisy signal of their type. The students come from two populations, which are identical in talent (i.e. the type distribution is the same), but differ in their access to resources: the higher resourced population can at their option take the exam multiple times, whereas the lower resourced population can only take the exam once. We study two models of score reporting, which capture existing policies used by colleges. The first policy (sometimes known as "superscoring") allows students to report the max of the scores they achieve. The other policy requires that all scores be reported. We find in our model that requiring that all scores be reported results in superior outcomes in equilibrium, both from the perspective of the college (the admissions rule is more accurate), and from the perspective of equity across populations: a student's probability of admission is independent of their population, conditional on their type. In particular, the false positive rates and false negative rates are identical in this setting, across the highly and poorly resourced student populations. This is the case despite the fact that the more highly resourced students can  at their option  either report a more accurate signal of their type, or pool with the lower resourced population under this policy.more » « less

We present a general, efficient technique for providing contextual predictions that are "multivalid" in various senses, against an online sequence of adversarially chosen examples (x,y). This means that the resulting estimates correctly predict various statistics of the labels y not just marginally  as averaged over the sequence of examples  but also conditionally on x in G for any G belonging to an arbitrary intersecting collection of groups. We provide three instantiations of this framework. The first is mean prediction, which corresponds to an online algorithm satisfying the notion of multicalibration from HebertJohnson et al. The second is variance and higher moment prediction, which corresponds to an online algorithm satisfying the notion of meanconditioned moment multicalibration from Jung et al. Finally, we define a new notion of prediction interval multivalidity, and give an algorithm for finding prediction intervals which satisfy it. Because our algorithms handle adversarially chosen examples, they can equally well be used to predict statistics of the residuals of arbitrary point prediction methods, giving rise to very general techniques for quantifying the uncertainty of predictions of black box algorithms, even in an online adversarial setting. When instantiated for prediction intervals, this solves a similar problem as conformal prediction, but in an adversarial environment and with multivalidity guarantees stronger than simple marginal coverage guarantees.more » « less

We give a simple, generic conformal prediction method for sequential prediction that achieves target empirical coverage guarantees against adversarially chosen data. It is computationally lightweight  comparable to split conformal prediction  but does not require having a heldout validation set, and so all data can be used for training models from which to derive a conformal score. It gives stronger than marginal coverage guarantees in two ways. First, it gives threshold calibrated prediction sets that have correct empirical coverage even conditional on the threshold used to form the prediction set from the conformal score. Second, the user can specify an arbitrary collection of subsets of the feature space  possibly intersecting  and the coverage guarantees also hold conditional on membership in each of these subsets. We call our algorithm MVP, short for MultiValid Prediction. We give both theory and an extensive set of empirical evaluations.more » « less

We introduce a simple but general online learning framework in which a learner plays against an adversary in a vectorvalued game that changes every round. Even though the learner's objective is not convexconcave (and so the minimax theorem does not apply), we give a simple algorithm that can compete with the setting in which the adversary must announce their action first, with optimally diminishing regret. We demonstrate the power of our framework by using it to (re)derive optimal bounds and efficient algorithms across a variety of domains, ranging from multicalibration to a large set of noregret algorithms, to a variant of Blackwell's approachability theorem for polytopes with fast convergence rates. As a new application, we show how to (multi)calibeat'' an arbitrary collection of forecasters  achieving an exponentially improved dependence on the number of models we are competing against, compared to prior work.more » « less

We consider a variation on the classical finance problem of optimal portfolio design. In our setting, a large population of consumers is drawn from some distribution over risk tolerances, and each consumer must be assigned to a portfolio of lower risk than her tolerance. The consumers may also belong to underlying groups (for instance, of demographic properties or wealth), and the goal is to design a small number of portfolios that are fair across groups in a particular and natural technical sense. Our main results are algorithms for optimal and nearoptimal portfolio design for both social welfare and fairness objectives, both with and without assumptions on the underlying group structure. We describe an efficient algorithm based on an internal twoplayer zerosum game that learns nearoptimal fair portfolios ex ante and show experimentally that it can be used to obtain a small set of fair portfolios ex post as well. For the special but natural case in which group structure coincides with risk tolerances (which models the reality that wealthy consumers generally tolerate greater risk), we give an efficient and optimal fair algorithm. We also provide generalization guarantees for the underlying risk distribution that has no dependence on the number of portfolios and illustrate the theory with simulation results.more » « less