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Intra-Processing Methods for Debiasing Neural Networks

Yash Savani · Colin White · Naveen Sundar Govindarajulu

Poster Session 3 #864


As deep learning models become tasked with more and more decisions that impact human lives, such as criminal recidivism, loan repayment, and face recognition for law enforcement, bias is becoming a growing concern. Debiasing algorithms are typically split into three paradigms: pre-processing, in-processing, and post-processing. However, in computer vision or natural language applications, it is common to start with a large generic model and then fine-tune to a specific use-case. Pre- or in-processing methods would require retraining the entire model from scratch, while post-processing methods only have black-box access to the model, so they do not leverage the weights of the trained model. Creating debiasing algorithms specifically for this fine-tuning use-case has largely been neglected.

In this work, we initiate the study of a new paradigm in debiasing research, intra-processing, which sits between in-processing and post-processing methods. Intra-processing methods are designed specifically to debias large models which have been trained on a generic dataset, and fine-tuned on a more specific task. We show how to repurpose existing in-processing methods for this use-case, and we also propose three baseline algorithms: random perturbation, layerwise optimization, and adversarial debiasing. We evaluate these methods across three popular datasets from the AIF360 toolkit, as well as on the CelebA faces dataset. Our code is available at

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