A Theory of Learning with Competing Objectives and User FeedbackDownload PDF

Published: 21 Nov 2022, Last Modified: 05 May 2023TSRML2022Readers: Everyone
Keywords: ML fairness, online learning, Reinforcement Learning
TL;DR: A new mathematical framework for optimizing diverse, conflicting objectives (such as fairness metrics) via user feedback
Abstract: Large-scale deployed learning systems are often evaluated along multiple objectives or criteria. But, how can we learn or optimize such complex systems, with potentially conflicting or even incompatible objectives? How can we improve the system when user feedback becomes available, feedback possibly alerting to issues not previously optimized for by the system? We present a new theoretical model for learning and optimizing such complex systems. Rather than committing to a static or pre-defined tradeoff for the multiple objectives, our model is guided by the feedback received, which is used to update its internal state. Our model supports multiple objectives that can be of very general form and takes into account their potential incompatibilities. We consider both a stochastic and an adversarial setting. In the stochastic setting, we show that our framework can be naturally cast as a Markov Decision Process with stochastic losses, for which we give efficient vanishing regret algorithmic solutions. In the adversarial setting, we design efficient algorithms with competitive ratio guarantees. We also report the results of experiments with our stochastic algorithms validating their effectiveness.
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