Optimizing Generalized Rate Metrics with Three Players

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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Harikrishna Narasimhan, Andrew Cotter, Maya Gupta


We present a general framework for solving a large class of learning problems with non-linear functions of classification rates. This includes problems where one wishes to optimize a non-decomposable performance metric such as the F-measure or G-mean, and constrained training problems where the classifier needs to satisfy non-linear rate constraints such as predictive parity fairness, distribution divergences or churn ratios. We extend previous two-player game approaches for constrained optimization to an approach with three players to decouple the classifier rates from the non-linear objective, and seek to find an equilibrium of the game. Our approach generalizes many existing algorithms, and makes possible new algorithms with more flexibility and tighter handling of non-linear rate constraints. We provide convergence guarantees for convex functions of rates, and show how our methodology can be extended to handle sums-of-ratios of rates. Experiments on different fairness tasks confirm the efficacy of our approach.