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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 22, 2025
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  4. In response to recent data regulation requirements, machine unlearning (MU) has emerged as a critical process to remove the influence of specific examples from a given model. Although exact unlearning can be achieved through complete model retraining using the remaining dataset, the associated computational costs have driven the development of efficient, approximate unlearning techniques. Moving beyond data-centric MU approaches, our study introduces a novel model-based perspective: model sparsification via weight pruning, which is capable of reducing the gap between exact unlearning and approximate unlearning. We show in both theory and practice that model sparsity can boost the multi-criteria unlearning performance of an approximate unlearner, closing the approximation gap, while continuing to be efficient. This leads to a new MU paradigm, termed prune first, then unlearn, which infuses a sparse model prior into the unlearning process. Building on this insight, we also develop a sparsity-aware unlearning method that utilizes sparsity regularization to enhance the training process of approximate unlearning. Extensive experiments show that our proposals consistently benefit MU in various unlearning scenarios. A notable highlight is the 77% unlearning efficacy gain of fine-tuning (one of the simplest unlearning methods) when using sparsity-aware unlearning. Furthermore, we demonstrate the practical impact of our proposed MU methods in addressing other machine learning challenges, such as defending against backdoor attacks and enhancing transfer learning. Codes are available at this https URL. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 9, 2024
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  6. The increasing automation of high-stakes decisions with direct impact on the lives and well-being of individuals raises a number of important considerations. Prominent among these is strategic behavior by individuals hoping to achieve a more desirable outcome. Two forms of such behavior are commonly studied: 1) misreporting of individual attributes, and 2) recourse, or actions that truly change such attributes. The former involves deception, and is inherently undesirable, whereas the latter may well be a desirable goal insofar as it changes true individual qualification. We study misreporting and recourse as strategic choices by individuals within a unified framework. In particular, we propose auditing as a means to incentivize recourse actions over attribute manipulation, and characterize optimal audit policies for two types of principals, utility-maximizing and recourse-maximizing. Additionally, we consider subsidies as an incentive for recourse over manipulation, and show that even a utility-maximizing principal would be willing to devote a considerable amount of audit budget to providing such subsidies. Finally, we consider the problem of optimizing fines for failed audits, and bound the total cost incurred by the population as a result of audits. 
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  10. The noise transition matrix plays a central role in the problem of learning with noisy labels. Among many other reasons, a large number of existing solutions rely on access to it. Identifying and estimating the transition matrix without ground truth labels is a critical and challenging task. When label noise transition depends on each instance, the problem of identifying the instance-dependent noise transition matrix becomes substantially more challenging. Despite recent works proposing solutions for learning from instance-dependent noisy labels, the field lacks a unified understanding of when such a problem remains identifiable. The goal of this paper is to characterize the identifiability of the label noise transition matrix. Building on Kruskal's identifiability results, we are able to show the necessity of multiple noisy labels in identifying the noise transition matrix for the generic case at the instance level. We further instantiate the results to explain the successes of the state-of-the-art solutions and how additional assumptions alleviated the requirement of multiple noisy labels. Our result also reveals that disentangled features are helpful in the above identification task and we provide empirical evidence. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 24, 2024