[Busec] Cynthia Dwork Distinguished Lecture - May 1, 11AM

Sharon Goldberg goldbe at cs.bu.edu
Tue Apr 16 18:02:48 EDT 2013

BU CS is very excited to host a distinguished lecture by Cynthia Dwork
on May 1 at 11AM in the MCS 180 (Hariri Institute Conference Room) at
111 Cummington St, Boston, MA.  We look forward to seeing all of you

Fairness Through Awareness
Cynthia Dwork, Microsoft Research, SVC
Wednesday May 1, 11AM
MCS 180 (Hariri Institute Conference Room) @ 111 Cummington St,  Boston, MA.

"Why was I not shown this advertisement? Why was my loan application
denied? Why was I rejected from this university?"

This talk will address fairness in classification, where the goal is
to prevent discrimination against protected population subgroups in
classification systems while simultaneously preserving utility for the
party carrying out the classification, for example, the advertiser,
bank, or admissions committee. We argue that a classification is fair
only when individuals who are similar with respect to the
classification task at hand are treated similarly, and this in turn
requires understanding of sub cultures of the population. Similarity
metrics are applied in many contexts, but these are often hidden. Our
work explicitly exposes the metric, opening it to public debate.
(Joint work with Moritz Hardt, Toniann Pitassi, Omer Reingold, and
Richard Zemel.)

Our approach provides a (theoretical) method by which an on-line
advertising network can prevent discrimination against protected
groups, even when the advertisers are unknown and untrusted. We
briefly discuss the role of fairness in consumer objections to
behavioral targeting and explain how traditional notions of privacy
miss the mark and fail to address these. (Joint work with Deirdre

Finally, we discuss a machine learning instantiation of our approach,
in which the distance metric need not be given but can instead be
learned.  (Joint work with Toniann Pitassi, Yu Wu, and Richard Zemel.)

Sharon Goldberg
Computer Science, Boston University

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