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Predictive Multiplicity in Probabilistic Classification
Jamelle Watson-Daniels · David Parkes · Berk Ustun

There may exist multiple models that perform almost equally well for any given prediction task. Related to the role of counterfactuals in studies of discrimination, we examine how individual predictions vary among these alternative competing models. In particular, we study predictive multiplicity -- in probabilistic classification. We formally define measures for our setting and develop optimization-based methods to compute these measures. We demonstrate how multiplicity can disproportionately impact marginalized individuals. And we apply our methodology to gain insight into why predictive multiplicity arises. Given our results, future work could explore how multiplicity relates to causal fairness.

Author Information

Jamelle Watson-Daniels (Harvard University)
David Parkes (Harvard University)

David C. Parkes is Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. He was the recipient of the NSF Career Award, the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the Thouron Scholarship and the Harvard University Roslyn Abramson Award for Teaching. Parkes received his Ph.D. degree in Computer and Information Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2001, and an M.Eng. (First class) in Engineering and Computing Science from Oxford University in 1995. At Harvard, Parkes leads the EconCS group and teaches classes in artificial intelligence, optimization, and topics at the intersection between computer science and economics. Parkes has served as Program Chair of ACM EC’07 and AAMAS’08 and General Chair of ACM EC’10, served on the editorial board of Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, and currently serves as Editor of Games and Economic Behavior and on the boards of Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multi-agent Systems and INFORMS Journal of Computing. His research interests include computational mechanism design, electronic commerce, stochastic optimization, preference elicitation, market design, bounded rationality, computational social choice, networks and incentives, multi-agent systems, crowd-sourcing and social computing.

Berk Ustun (UC San Diego)

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