Adversarial Mitigation#
Fairlearn provides an implementation of the adversarial
mitigation method of Zhang et al.[1].
The input to the method consists of features \(X,\) labels \(Y,\)
and sensitive features \(A\). The goal is to fit an estimator that
predicts \(Y\) from \(X\) while enforcing fairness constraints with
respect to \(A\). Both classification and regression
are supported (classes AdversarialFairnessClassifier
and
AdversarialFairnessRegressor
) with two types of
fairness constraints: demographic parity and equalized odds.
To train an adversarial mitigation algorithm, the user needs to provide two neural networks, a predictor network and an adversary network, with learnable weights \(W\) and \(U,\) respectively. The predictor network is constructed to solve the underlying supervised learning task, without considering fairness, by minimizing the predictor loss \(L_P.\) However, to improve fairness, we do not only minimize the predictor loss, but we also want to decrease the adversary’s ability to predict the sensitive features from the predictor’s predictions (when implementing demographic parity), or jointly from the predictor’s predictions and true labels (when implementing equalized odds).
Suppose the adversary has the loss term \(L_A.\) The algorithm updates adversary weights \(U\) by descending along the gradient \(\nabla_U L_A\). However, when updating the predictor weights \(W\), the algorithm uses
instead of just gradient. Compared with standard stochastic gradient descent, there are two additional terms that seek to prevent the decrease of the adversary loss. The hyperparameter \(\alpha\) specifies the strength of enforcing the fairness constraint. For details, see Zhang et al.[1].
In Models, we discuss the models that this implementation accepts. In Data types and loss functions, we discuss the input format of \(X,\) how \(Y\) and \(A\) are preprocessed, and how the loss functions \(L_P\) and \(L_A\) are chosen. Finally, in Training we give some useful tips to keep in mind when training this model, as adversarial methods such as these can be difficult to train.
Models#
One can implement the predictor and adversarial neural networks as a torch.nn.Module (using PyTorch) or as a tensorflow.keras.Model (using TensorFlow). This implementation has a soft dependency on either PyTorch or TensorFlow, and the user needs to have installed either one of the two soft dependencies. It is not possible to mix these dependencies, so a PyTorch predictor with a TensorFlow loss function is not possible.
It is very important to define the neural network models with no activation function or discrete prediction function on the final layer. So, for instance, when predicting a categorical feature that is one-hot-encoded, the neural network should output a vector of real-valued scores, not the one-hot-encoded discrete prediction:
predictor_model = tf.keras.Sequential([
tf.keras.layers.Dense(50, activation='relu'),
tf.keras.layers.Dense(1)
])
adversary_model = tf.keras.Sequential([
tf.keras.layers.Dense(3, activation='relu'),
tf.keras.layers.Dense(1)
])
mitigator = AdversarialFairnessClassifier(
predictor_model=predictor_model,
adversary_model=adversary_model
)
For simple or exploratory use cases, Fairlearn provides a very basic neural network builder. Instead of a neural network model, it is possible to pass a list \([k_1, k_2, \dots]\), where each \(k_i\) either indicates the number of nodes (if \(k_i\) is an integer) or an activation function (if \(k_i\) is a string) or a layer or activation function instance directly (if \(k_i\) is a callable). However, the number of nodes in the input and output layer is automatically inferred from data, and the final activation function (such as softmax for categorical predictors) is also inferred from data. So, in the following example, the predictor model is a neural network with an input layer of the appropriate number of nodes, a hidden layer with 50 nodes and ReLU activations, and an output layer with an appropriate activation function. The appropriate function in case of classification will be softmax for one hot encoded \(Y\) and sigmoid for binary \(Y\):
mitigator = AdversarialFairnessClassifier(
predictor_model=[50, "relu"],
adversary_model=[3, "relu"]
)
Data types and loss functions#
We require the provided data \(X\) to be provided as a matrix (2d array-like) of floats; this data is directly passed to neural network models.
Labels \(Y\) and sensitive features \(A\) are automatically preprocessed based on their type: binary data is represented as 0/1, categorical data is one-hot encoded, float data is left unchanged.
Zhang et al.[1] do not explicitly define loss functions.
In AdversarialFairnessClassifier
and AdversarialFairnessRegressor
,
the loss functions are automatically inferred based on
the data type of the label and sensitive features.
For binary and categorical target variables, the training loss is cross-entropy.
For float targets variables, the training loss is the mean squared error.
To summarize:
label \(Y\) |
derived label \(Y'\) |
network output \(Z\) |
probabilistic prediction |
loss function |
prediction |
---|---|---|---|---|---|
binary |
0/1 |
\(\mathbb{R}\) |
\(\mathbb{P}(Y'=1)\) \(\;\;=1/(1+e^{-Z})\) |
\(-Y'\log\mathbb{P}(Y'=1)\) \(\;\;-(1-Y')\log\mathbb{P}(Y'=0)\) |
1 if \(Z\ge 0\), else 0 |
categorical (\(k\) values) |
one-hot encoding |
\(\mathbb{R}^k\) |
\(\mathbb{P}(Y'=\mathbf{e}_j)\) \(\;\;=e^{Z_j}/\sum_{\ell=1}^k e^{Z_{\ell}}\) |
\(-\sum_{j=1}^k Y'_j\log\mathbb{P}(Y'=\mathbf{e}_j)\) |
\(\text{argmax}_j\,Z_j\) |
continuous (in \(\mathbb{R}^k\)) |
unchanged |
\(\mathbb{R}^k\) |
not available |
\(\Vert Z-Y\Vert^2\) |
\(Z\) |
The label is treated as binary if it takes on two distinct int
or str
values,
as categorical if it takes on \(k\) distinct int
or str
values (with \(k>2\)),
and as continuous if it is a float or a vector of floats. Sensitive features are treated similarly.
Note: currently, all data needs to be passed to the model in the first call to fit.
Training#
Adversarial learning is inherently difficult because of various issues, such as mode collapse, divergence, and diminishing gradients. Mode collapse is the scenario where the predictor learns to produce one output, and because it does this relatively well, it will never learn any other output. Diminishing gradients are common as well, and could be due to an adversary that is trained too well in comparison to the predictor. Such problems have been studied extensively by others, so we encourage the user to find remedies elsewhere from more extensive sources. As a general rule of thumb, training adversarially is best done with a lower and possibly decaying learning rate while ensuring the losses remain balanced, and keeping track of validation accuracies every few iterations may save you a lot of headaches if the model suddenly diverges or collapses.
Some pieces of advice regarding training with adversarial fairness:
For some tabular datasets, we found that single hidden layer neural networks are easier to train than deeper networks.
Validate your model! Provide this model with a callback function in the constructor’s keyword
callbacks
(see Example 2: Finetuning training). Optionally, have this function returnTrue
to indicate early stopping.Zhang et al.[1] have found it to be useful to maintain a global step count and gradually increase \(\alpha\) while decreasing the learning rate \(\eta\) and taking \(\alpha \eta \rightarrow 0\) as the global step count increases. In particular, use a callback function to perform these hyperparameter updates. An example can be seen in the example notebook.
Example 1: Basics & model specification#
First, we cover a most basic application of adversarial mitigation. We start by loading and preprocessing the dataset:
from fairlearn.datasets import fetch_adult
X, y = fetch_adult(return_X_y=True)
pos_label = y[0]
z = X["sex"] # In this example, we consider 'sex' the sensitive feature.
The UCI adult dataset cannot be fed into a neural network (yet),
as we have many columns that are not numerical in nature. To resolve this
issue, we could for instance use one-hot encodings to preprocess categorical
columns. Additionally, let’s preprocess the numeric columns to a
standardized range. For these tasks, we can use functionality from
scikit-learn (sklearn.preprocessing
). We also use an imputer
to get rid of NaN’s:
from sklearn.compose import make_column_transformer, make_column_selector
from sklearn.preprocessing import OneHotEncoder, StandardScaler
from sklearn.impute import SimpleImputer
from sklearn.pipeline import Pipeline
from numpy import number
ct = make_column_transformer(
(
Pipeline(
[
("imputer", SimpleImputer(strategy="mean")),
("normalizer", StandardScaler()),
]
),
make_column_selector(dtype_include=number),
),
(
Pipeline(
[
("imputer", SimpleImputer(strategy="most_frequent")),
("encoder", OneHotEncoder(drop="if_binary", sparse_output=False)),
]
),
make_column_selector(dtype_include="category"),
),
)
As with other machine learning methods, it is wise to take a train-test split of the data in order to validate the model on unseen data:
from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_split
X_train, X_test, Y_train, Y_test, Z_train, Z_test = train_test_split(
X, y, z, test_size=0.2, random_state=12345, stratify=y
)
X_prep_train = ct.fit_transform(X_train) # Only fit on training data!
X_prep_test = ct.transform(X_test)
Now, we can use AdversarialFairnessClassifier
to train on the
UCI Adult dataset. As our predictor and adversary models, we use for
simplicity the default constructors for fully connected neural
networks with sigmoid activations implemented in Fairlearn. We initialize
neural network constructors
by passing a list \(h_1, h_2, \dots\) that indicate the number of nodes
\(h_i\) per hidden layer \(i\). You can also put strings in this list
to indicate certain activation functions, or just pass an initialized
activation function directly.
The specific fairness
objective that we choose for this example is demographic parity, so we also
set objective = "demographic_parity"
. We generally follow sklearn API,
but in this case we require some extra kwargs. In particular, we should
specify the number of epochs, batch size, whether to shuffle the rows of data
after every epoch, and optionally after how many seconds to show a progress
update:
from fairlearn.adversarial import AdversarialFairnessClassifier
mitigator = AdversarialFairnessClassifier(
backend="torch",
predictor_model=[50, "leaky_relu"],
adversary_model=[3, "leaky_relu"],
batch_size=2 ** 8,
progress_updates=0.5,
random_state=123,
)
Then, we can fit the data to our model:
mitigator.fit(X_prep_train, Y_train, sensitive_features=Z_train)
Finally, we evaluate the predictions. In particular, we trained the predictor for demographic parity, so we are not only interested in the accuracy, but also in the selection rate. MetricFrames are a great resource here:
predictions = mitigator.predict(X_prep_test)
from fairlearn.metrics import (
MetricFrame,
selection_rate,
demographic_parity_difference,
)
from sklearn.metrics import accuracy_score
mf = MetricFrame(
metrics={"accuracy": accuracy_score, "selection_rate": selection_rate},
y_true=Y_test == pos_label,
y_pred=predictions == pos_label,
sensitive_features=Z_test,
)
Then, to display the result:
>>> print(mf.by_group)
accuracy selection_rate
sex
Female 0.906308 0.978664
Male 0.723336 0.484927
The above statistics tell us that the accuracy of our model is quite good, 90% for females and 72% for males. However, the selection rates differ, so there is a large demographic disparity here. When using adversarial fairness out-of-the-box, users may not yield such good training results after the first attempt. In general, training adversarial networks is hard, and users may need to tweak the hyperparameters continuously. Besides general scikit-learn algorithms that finetune estimators, Example 2: Finetuning training will demonstrate some problem-specific techniques we can use such as using dynamic hyperparameters, validation, and early stopping to improve adversarial training.
Example 2: Finetuning training#
Adversarial learning is inherently difficult because of various issues, such as mode collapse, divergence, and diminishing gradients. In particular, mode collapse seems a real problem on this dataset: the predictor and adversary trap themselves in a local minimum by favoring one class (mode). Problems with diverging parameters may also occur, which may be an indication of a bad choice of hyperparameters, such as a learning rate that is too large. The problems that a user may encounter are of course case specific, but general good practices when training such models are: train slowly, ensuring the losses remain balanced, and keep track of validation accuracies. Additionally, we found that single hidden layer neural networks work best for this use case.
In this example, we demonstrate some of these good practices. We start by defining our predictor neural network explicitly so that it is more apparent. We will be using PyTorch, but the same can be achieved using Tensorflow:
import torch
class PredictorModel(torch.nn.Module):
def __init__(self):
super(PredictorModel, self).__init__()
self.layers = torch.nn.Sequential(
torch.nn.Linear(X_prep_train.shape[1], 200),
torch.nn.LeakyReLU(),
torch.nn.Linear(200, 1),
torch.nn.Sigmoid(),
)
def forward(self, x):
return self.layers(x)
predictor_model = PredictorModel()
We also take a look at some validation metrics. Most importantly, we chose the demographic parity difference to check to what extent the constraint (demographic parity in this case) is satisfied. We also look at the selection rate to observe whether our model is suffering from mode collapse, and we also calculate the accuracy on the validation set as well. We will pass this validation step to our model later:
from numpy import mean
def validate(mitigator):
predictions = mitigator.predict(X_prep_test)
dp_diff = demographic_parity_difference(
Y_test == pos_label,
predictions == pos_label,
sensitive_features=Z_test,
)
accuracy = mean(predictions.values == Y_test.values)
selection_rate = mean(predictions == pos_label)
print(
"DP diff: {:.4f}, accuracy: {:.4f}, selection_rate: {:.4f}".format(
dp_diff, accuracy, selection_rate
)
)
return dp_diff, accuracy, selection_rate
We may define the optimizers however we like. In this case, we use the suggestion from the paper to set the hyperparameters \(\alpha\) and learning rate \(\eta\) to depend on the timestep such that \(\alpha \eta \rightarrow 0\) as the timestep grows:
schedulers = []
def optimizer_constructor(model):
global schedulers
optimizer = torch.optim.Adam(model.parameters(), lr=0.01)
schedulers.append(
torch.optim.lr_scheduler.ExponentialLR(optimizer, gamma=0.995)
)
return optimizer
step = 1
We make use of a callback function to both update the hyperparameters and to
validate the model. We update these hyperparameters at every 10 steps, and we
validate every 100 steps. Additionally, we can implement early stopping
easily by calling return True
in a callback function:
from math import sqrt
def callbacks(model, *args):
global step
global schedulers
step += 1
# Update hyperparameters
model.alpha = 0.3 * sqrt(step // 1)
for scheduler in schedulers:
scheduler.step()
# Validate (and early stopping) every 50 steps
if step % 50 == 0:
dp_diff, accuracy, selection_rate = validate(model)
# Early stopping condition:
# Good accuracy + low dp_diff + no mode collapse
if (
dp_diff < 0.03
and accuracy > 0.8
and selection_rate > 0.01
and selection_rate < 0.99
):
return True
Then, the instance itself. Notice that we do not explicitly define loss functions, because adversarial fairness is able to infer the loss function on its own in this example:
mitigator = AdversarialFairnessClassifier(
predictor_model=predictor_model,
adversary_model=[3, "leaky_relu"],
predictor_optimizer=optimizer_constructor,
adversary_optimizer=optimizer_constructor,
epochs=10,
batch_size=2 ** 7,
shuffle=True,
callbacks=callbacks,
random_state=123,
)
Then, we fit the model:
mitigator.fit(X_prep_train, Y_train, sensitive_features=Z_train)
Finally, we validate as before, and take a look at the results:
>>> validate(mitigator) # to see DP difference, accuracy, and selection_rate
(0.12749738693557688, 0.8005937148121609, 0.8286416214556249)
>>> predictions = mitigator.predict(X_prep_test)
>>> mf = MetricFrame(
metrics={"accuracy": accuracy_score, "selection_rate": selection_rate},
y_true=Y_test == pos_label,
y_pred=predictions == pos_label,
sensitive_features=Z_test,
)
>>> print(mf.by_group)
accuracy selection_rate
sex
Female 0.823129 0.743352
Male 0.789441 0.870849
Notice we achieve a much lower demographic parity difference than in Exercise 1! This may come at the cost of some accuracy, but such a tradeoff is to be expected as we are purposely mitigating the unfairness that was present in the data.
Example 3: Scikit-learn applications#
AdversarialFairness is quite compliant with scikit-learn API, so functions
such as pipelining and model selection are applicable here. In particular,
applying pipelining might seem complicated as scikit-learn only pipelines
X
and Y
, not the sensitive_features
.
We overcome this issue by passing the sensitive features through the
pipeline as keyword-argument [name of model]__sensitive_features
to fit:
>>> pipeline = Pipeline(
[
("preprocessor", ct),
(
"classifier",
AdversarialFairnessClassifier(
backend="torch",
predictor_model=[50, "leaky_relu"],
adversary_model=[3, "leaky_relu"],
batch_size=2 ** 8,
random_state=123,
),
),
]
)
>>> pipeline.fit(X_train, Y_train, classifier__sensitive_features=Z_train)
>>> predictions = pipeline.predict(X_test)
>>> mf = MetricFrame(
metrics={"accuracy": accuracy_score, "selection_rate": selection_rate},
y_true=Y_test == pos_label,
y_pred=predictions == pos_label,
sensitive_features=Z_test,
)
>>> print(mf.by_group)
accuracy selection_rate
sex
Female 0.906308 0.978664
Male 0.723336 0.484927
Notice how the same result is obtained as in Example 1: Basics & model specification.