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A General Framework for Fair Regression

Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, Oxford OX13PJ, UK
Faculty of Business and Law, Northampton University, Northampton NN15PH, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Entropy 2019, 21(8), 741;
Received: 29 April 2019 / Revised: 17 July 2019 / Accepted: 22 July 2019 / Published: 29 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entropy Based Inference and Optimization in Machine Learning)
PDF [1607 KB, uploaded 29 July 2019]


Fairness, through its many forms and definitions, has become an important issue facing the machine learning community. In this work, we consider how to incorporate group fairness constraints into kernel regression methods, applicable to Gaussian processes, support vector machines, neural network regression and decision tree regression. Further, we focus on examining the effect of incorporating these constraints in decision tree regression, with direct applications to random forests and boosted trees amongst other widespread popular inference techniques. We show that the order of complexity of memory and computation is preserved for such models and tightly binds the expected perturbations to the model in terms of the number of leaves of the trees. Importantly, the approach works on trained models and hence can be easily applied to models in current use and group labels are only required on training data. View Full-Text
Keywords: machine learning; algorithmic fairness; kernel methods; constrained learning; Gaussian process; decision tree; neural network machine learning; algorithmic fairness; kernel methods; constrained learning; Gaussian process; decision tree; neural network

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Fitzsimons, J.; Al Ali, A.; Osborne, M.; Roberts, S. A General Framework for Fair Regression. Entropy 2019, 21, 741.

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