Large language models (LLMs) are a promising avenue for machine translation (MT). However, current LLM-based MT systems are brittle: their effectiveness highly depends on the choice of few-shot examples and they often require extra post-processing due to overgeneration. Alternatives such as finetuning on translation instructions are computationally expensive and may weaken in-context learning capabilities, due to overspecialization. In this paper, we provide a closer look at this problem. We start by showing that adapter-based finetuning with LoRA matches the performance of traditional finetuning while reducing the number of training parameters by a factor of 50. This method also outperforms few-shot prompting and eliminates the need for post-processing or in-context examples. However, we show that finetuning generally degrades few-shot performance, hindering adaptation capabilities. Finally, to obtain the best of both worlds, we propose a simple approach that incorporates few-shot examples during finetuning. Experiments on 10 language pairs show that our proposed approach recovers the original few-shot capabilities while keeping the added benefits of finetuning.
We present the joint contribution of Unbabel and Instituto Superior T\'ecnico to the WMT 2023 Shared Task on Quality Estimation (QE). Our team participated on all tasks: sentence- and word-level quality prediction (task 1) and fine-grained error span detection (task 2). For all tasks, we build on the COMETKIWI-22 model (Rei et al., 2022b). Our multilingual approaches are ranked first for all tasks, reaching state-of-the-art performance for quality estimation at word-, span- and sentence-level granularity. Compared to the previous state-of-the-art COMETKIWI-22, we show large improvements in correlation with human judgements (up to 10 Spearman points). Moreover, we surpass the second-best multilingual submission to the shared-task with up to 3.8 absolute points.
Data valuation is a ML field that studies the value of training instances towards a given predictive task. Although data bias is one of the main sources of downstream model unfairness, previous work in data valuation does not consider how training instances may influence both performance and fairness of ML models. Thus, we propose Fairness-Aware Data vauatiOn (FADO), a data valuation framework that can be used to incorporate fairness concerns into a series of ML-related tasks (e.g., data pre-processing, exploratory data analysis, active learning). We propose an entropy-based data valuation metric suited to address our two-pronged goal of maximizing both performance and fairness, which is more computationally efficient than existing metrics. We then show how FADO can be applied as the basis for unfairness mitigation pre-processing techniques. Our methods achieve promising results -- up to a 40 p.p. improvement in fairness at a less than 1 p.p. loss in performance compared to a baseline -- and promote fairness in a data-centric way, where a deeper understanding of data quality takes center stage.
Evaluating new techniques on realistic datasets plays a crucial role in the development of ML research and its broader adoption by practitioners. In recent years, there has been a significant increase of publicly available unstructured data resources for computer vision and NLP tasks. However, tabular data -- which is prevalent in many high-stakes domains -- has been lagging behind. To bridge this gap, we present Bank Account Fraud (BAF), the first publicly available privacy-preserving, large-scale, realistic suite of tabular datasets. The suite was generated by applying state-of-the-art tabular data generation techniques on an anonymized,real-world bank account opening fraud detection dataset. This setting carries a set of challenges that are commonplace in real-world applications, including temporal dynamics and significant class imbalance. Additionally, to allow practitioners to stress test both performance and fairness of ML methods, each dataset variant of BAF contains specific types of data bias. With this resource, we aim to provide the research community with a more realistic, complete, and robust test bed to evaluate novel and existing methods.
In recent years, machine learning algorithms have become ubiquitous in a multitude of high-stakes decision-making applications. The unparalleled ability of machine learning algorithms to learn patterns from data also enables them to incorporate biases embedded within. A biased model can then make decisions that disproportionately harm certain groups in society -- limiting their access to financial services, for example. The awareness of this problem has given rise to the field of Fair ML, which focuses on studying, measuring, and mitigating unfairness in algorithmic prediction, with respect to a set of protected groups (e.g., race or gender). However, the underlying causes for algorithmic unfairness still remain elusive, with researchers divided between blaming either the ML algorithms or the data they are trained on. In this work, we maintain that algorithmic unfairness stems from interactions between models and biases in the data, rather than from isolated contributions of either of them. To this end, we propose a taxonomy to characterize data bias and we study a set of hypotheses regarding the fairness-accuracy trade-offs that fairness-blind ML algorithms exhibit under different data bias settings. On our real-world account-opening fraud use case, we find that each setting entails specific trade-offs, affecting fairness in expected value and variance -- the latter often going unnoticed. Moreover, we show how algorithms compare differently in terms of accuracy and fairness, depending on the biases affecting the data. Finally, we note that under specific data bias conditions, simple pre-processing interventions can successfully balance group-wise error rates, while the same techniques fail in more complex settings.
The unparalleled ability of machine learning algorithms to learn patterns from data also enables them to incorporate biases embedded within. A biased model can then make decisions that disproportionately harm certain groups in society. Much work has been devoted to measuring unfairness in static ML environments, but not in dynamic, performative prediction ones, in which most real-world use cases operate. In the latter, the predictive model itself plays a pivotal role in shaping the distribution of the data. However, little attention has been heeded to relating unfairness to these interactions. Thus, to further the understanding of unfairness in these settings, we propose a taxonomy to characterize bias in the data, and study cases where it is shaped by model behaviour. Using a real-world account opening fraud detection case study as an example, we study the dangers to both performance and fairness of two typical biases in performative prediction: distribution shifts, and the problem of selective labels.