Fairness in Streaming Submodular Maximization: Algorithms and Hardness

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Marwa El Halabi, Slobodan Mitrović, Ashkan Norouzi-Fard, Jakab Tardos, Jakub M. Tarnawski


Submodular maximization has become established as the method of choice for the task of selecting representative and diverse summaries of data. However, if datapoints have sensitive attributes such as gender or age, such machine learning algorithms, left unchecked, are known to exhibit bias: under- or over-representation of particular groups. This has made the design of fair machine learning algorithms increasingly important. In this work we address the question: Is it possible to create fair summaries for massive datasets? To this end, we develop the first streaming approximation algorithms for submodular maximization under fairness constraints, for both monotone and non-monotone functions. We validate our findings empirically on exemplar-based clustering, movie recommendation, DPP-based summarization, and maximum coverage in social networks, showing that fairness constraints do not significantly impact utility.