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  1. The prevalence and importance of algorithmic two-sided marketplaces has drawn attention to the issue of fairness in such settings. Algorithmic decisions are used in assigning students to schools, users to advertisers, and applicants to job interviews. These decisions should heed the preferences of individuals, and simultaneously be fair with respect to their merits (synonymous with fit, future performance, or need). Merits conditioned on observable features are always uncertain, a fact that is exacerbated by the widespread use of machine learning algorithms to infer merit from the observables. As our key contribution, we carefully axiomatize a notion of individual fairness in the two-sided marketplace setting which respects the uncertainty in the merits; indeed, it simultaneously recognizes uncertainty as the primary potential cause of unfairness and an approach to address it. We design a linear programming framework to find fair utility-maximizing distributions over allocations, and we show that the linear program is robust to perturbations in the estimated parameters of the uncertain merit distributions, a key property in combining the approach with machine learning techniques. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  2. Range aggregate queries (RAQs) are an integral part of many real-world applications, where, often, fast and approximate answers for the queries are desired. Recent work has studied answering RAQs using machine learning (ML) models, where a model of the data is learned to answer the queries. However, there is no theoretical understanding of why and when the ML based approaches perform well. Furthermore, since the ML approaches model the data, they fail to capitalize on any query specific information to improve performance in practice. In this paper, we focus on modeling "queries" rather than data and train neural networks to learn the query answers. This change of focus allows us to theoretically study our ML approach to provide a distribution and query dependent error bound for neural networks when answering RAQs. We confirm our theoretical results by developing NeuroSketch, a neural network framework to answer RAQs in practice. Extensive experimental study on real-world, TPC-benchmark and synthetic datasets show that NeuroSketch answers RAQs multiple orders of magnitude faster than state-of-the-art and with better accuracy. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 26, 2024