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  1. In online recommendation, customers arrive in a sequential and stochastic manner from an underlying distribution and the online decision model recommends a chosen item for each arriving individual based on some strategy. We study how to recommend an item at each step to maximize the expected reward while achieving user-side fairness for customers, i.e., customers who share similar profiles will receive a similar reward regardless of their sensitive attributes and items being recommended. By incorporating causal inference into bandits and adopting soft intervention to model the arm selection strategy, we first propose the d-separation based UCB algorithm (D-UCB) to explore the utilization of the d-separation set in reducing the amount of exploration needed to achieve low cumulative regret. Based on that, we then propose the fair causal bandit (F-UCB) for achieving the counterfactual individual fairness. Both theoretical analysis and empirical evaluation demonstrate effectiveness of our algorithms.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 30, 2023
  2. Personalized recommendation based on multi-arm bandit (MAB) algorithms has shown to lead to high utility and efficiency as it can dynamically adapt the recommendation strategy based on feedback. However, unfairness could incur in personalized recommendation. In this paper, we study how to achieve user-side fairness in personalized recommendation. We formulate our fair personalized recommendation as a modified contextual bandit and focus on achieving fairness on the individual whom is being recommended an item as opposed to achieving fairness on the items that are being recommended. We introduce and define a metric that captures the fairness in terms of rewards received for both the privileged and protected groups. We develop a fair contextual bandit algorithm, Fair-LinUCB, that improves upon the traditional LinUCB algorithm to achieve group-level fairness of users. Our algorithm detects and monitors unfairness while it learns to recommend personalized videos to students to achieve high efficiency. We provide a theoretical regret analysis and show that our algorithm has a slightly higher regret bound than LinUCB. We conduct numerous experimental evaluations to compare the performances of our fair contextual bandit to that of LinUCB and show that our approach achieves group-level fairness while maintaining a high utility.
  3. To address the sample selection bias between the training and test data, previous research works focus on reweighing biased training data to match the test data and then building classification models on there weighed raining data. However, how to achieve fairness in the built classification models is under-explored. In this paper, we propose a framework for robust and fair learning under sample selection bias. Our framework adopts there weighing estimation approach for bias correction and the minimax robust estimation approach for achieving robustness on prediction accuracy. Moreover, during the minimax optimization, the fairness is achieved under the worst case, which guarantees the model’s fairness on test data. We further develop two algorithms to handle sample selection bias when test data is both available and unavailable.
  4. Educational content labeled with proper knowledge components (KCs) are particularly useful to teachers or content organizers. However, manually labeling educational content is labor intensive and error-prone. To address this challenge, prior research proposed machine learning based solutions to auto-label educational content with limited success. In this work, we significantly improve prior research by (1) expanding the input types to include KC descriptions, instructional video titles, and problem descriptions (i.e., three types of prediction task), (2) doubling the granularity of the prediction from 198 to 385 KC labels (i.e., more practical setting but much harder multinomial classification problem), (3) improving the prediction accuracies by 0.5–2.3% using Task-adaptive Pre-trained BERT, outperforming six baselines, and (4) proposing a simple evaluation measure by which we can recover 56–73% of mispredicted KC labels. All codes and data sets in the experiments are available at:
  5. It has been shown in multiple studies that expert-created on-demand assistance, such as hint messages, improves student learning in online learning environments. However, there are also evident that certain types of assistance may be detrimental to student learning. In addition, creating and maintaining on-demand assistance are hard and time-consuming. In 2017-2018 academic year, 132,738 distinct problems were assigned inside ASSISTments, but only 38,194 of those problems had on-demand assistance. In order to take on-demand assistance to scale, we needed a system that is able to gather new on-demand assistance and allows us to test and measure its effectiveness. Thus, we designed and deployed TeacherASSIST inside ASSISTments. TeacherASSIST allowed teachers to create on-demand assistance for any problems as they assigned those problems to their students. TeacherASSIST then redistributed on-demand assistance by one teacher to students outside of their classrooms. We found that teachers inside ASSISTments had created 40,292 new instances of assistance for 25,957 different problems in three years. There were 14 teachers who created more than 1,000 instances of on-demand assistance. We also conducted two large-scale randomized controlled experiments to investigate how on-demand assistance created by one teacher affected students outside of their classes. Students who received on-demand assistance formore »one problem resulted in significant statistical improvement on the next problem performance. The students' improvement in this experiment confirmed our hypothesis that crowd-sourced on-demand assistance was sufficient in quality to improve student learning, allowing us to take on-demand assistance to scale.« less