Rapid advancements of large language models (LLMs) have enabled the processing, understanding, and generation of human-like text, with increasing integration into systems that touch our social sphere. Despite this success, these models can learn, perpetuate, and amplify harmful social biases. In this paper, we present a comprehensive survey of bias evaluation and mitigation techniques for LLMs. We first consolidate, formalize, and expand notions of social bias and fairness in natural language processing, defining distinct facets of harm and introducing several desiderata to operationalize fairness for LLMs. We then unify the literature by proposing three intuitive taxonomies, two for bias evaluation, namely metrics and datasets, and one for mitigation. Our first taxonomy of metrics for bias evaluation disambiguates the relationship between metrics and evaluation datasets, and organizes metrics by the different levels at which they operate in a model: embeddings, probabilities, and generated text. Our second taxonomy of datasets for bias evaluation categorizes datasets by their structure as counterfactual inputs or prompts, and identifies the targeted harms and social groups; we also release a consolidation of publicly-available datasets for improved access. Our third taxonomy of techniques for bias mitigation classifies methods by their intervention during pre-processing, in-training, intra-processing, and post-processing, with granular subcategories that elucidate research trends. Finally, we identify open problems and challenges for future work. Synthesizing a wide range of recent research, we aim to provide a clear guide of the existing literature that empowers researchers and practitioners to better understand and prevent the propagation of bias in LLMs.
Captions are crucial for understanding scientific visualizations and documents. Existing captioning methods for scientific figures rely on figure-caption pairs extracted from documents for training, many of which fall short with respect to metrics like helpfulness, explainability, and visual-descriptiveness  leading to generated captions being misaligned with reader preferences. To enable the generation of high-quality figure captions, we introduce FigCaps-HF a new framework for figure-caption generation that can incorporate domain expert feedback in generating captions optimized for reader preferences. Our framework comprises of 1) an automatic method for evaluating quality of figure-caption pairs, 2) a novel reinforcement learning with human feedback (RLHF) method to optimize a generative figure-to-caption model for reader preferences. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our simple learning framework by improving performance over standard fine-tuning across different types of models. In particular, when using BLIP as the base model, our RLHF framework achieves a mean gain of 35.7%, 16.9%, and 9% in ROUGE, BLEU, and Meteor, respectively. Finally, we release a large-scale benchmark dataset with human feedback on figure-caption pairs to enable further evaluation and development of RLHF techniques for this problem.
Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) have become increasingly important due to their representational power and state-of-the-art predictive performance on many fundamental learning tasks. Despite this success, GNNs suffer from fairness issues that arise as a result of the underlying graph data and the fundamental aggregation mechanism that lies at the heart of the large class of GNN models. In this article, we examine and categorize fairness techniques for improving the fairness of GNNs. Previous work on fair GNN models and techniques are discussed in terms of whether they focus on improving fairness during a preprocessing step, during training, or in a post-processing phase. Furthermore, we discuss how such techniques can be used together whenever appropriate, and highlight the advantages and intuition as well. We also introduce an intuitive taxonomy for fairness evaluation metrics including graph-level fairness, neighborhood-level fairness, embedding-level fairness, and prediction-level fairness metrics. In addition, graph datasets that are useful for benchmarking the fairness of GNN models are summarized succinctly. Finally, we highlight key open problems and challenges that remain to be addressed.
We consider dynamic pricing strategies in a streamed longitudinal data set-up where the objective is to maximize, over time, the cumulative profit across a large number of customer segments. We consider a dynamic probit model with the consumers' preferences as well as price sensitivity varying over time. Building on the well-known finding that consumers sharing similar characteristics act in similar ways, we consider a global shrinkage structure, which assumes that the consumers' preferences across the different segments can be well approximated by a spatial autoregressive (SAR) model. In such a streamed longitudinal set-up, we measure the performance of a dynamic pricing policy via regret, which is the expected revenue loss compared to a clairvoyant that knows the sequence of model parameters in advance. We propose a pricing policy based on penalized stochastic gradient descent (PSGD) and explicitly characterize its regret as functions of time, the temporal variability in the model parameters as well as the strength of the auto-correlation network structure spanning the varied customer segments. Our regret analysis results not only demonstrate asymptotic optimality of the proposed policy but also show that for policy planning it is essential to incorporate available structural information as policies based on unshrunken models are highly sub-optimal in the aforementioned set-up.
Effective figure captions are crucial for clear comprehension of scientific figures, yet poor caption writing remains a common issue in scientific articles. Our study of arXiv cs.CL papers found that 53.88% of captions were rated as unhelpful or worse by domain experts, showing the need for better caption generation. Previous efforts in figure caption generation treated it as a vision task, aimed at creating a model to understand visual content and complex contextual information. Our findings, however, demonstrate that over 75% of figure captions' tokens align with corresponding figure-mentioning paragraphs, indicating great potential for language technology to solve this task. In this paper, we present a novel approach for generating figure captions in scientific documents using text summarization techniques. Our approach extracts sentences referencing the target figure, then summarizes them into a concise caption. In the experiments on real-world arXiv papers (81.2% were published at academic conferences), our method, using only text data, outperformed previous approaches in both automatic and human evaluations. We further conducted data-driven investigations into the two core challenges: (i) low-quality author-written captions and (ii) the absence of a standard for good captions. We found that our models could generate improved captions for figures with original captions rated as unhelpful, and the model trained on captions with more than 30 tokens produced higher-quality captions. We also found that good captions often include the high-level takeaway of the figure. Our work proves the effectiveness of text summarization in generating figure captions for scholarly articles, outperforming prior vision-based approaches. Our findings have practical implications for future figure captioning systems, improving scientific communication clarity.
Learning fair graph representations for downstream applications is becoming increasingly important, but existing work has mostly focused on improving fairness at the global level by either modifying the graph structure or objective function without taking into account the local neighborhood of a node. In this work, we formally introduce the notion of neighborhood fairness and develop a computational framework for learning such locally fair embeddings. We argue that the notion of neighborhood fairness is more appropriate since GNN-based models operate at the local neighborhood level of a node. Our neighborhood fairness framework has two main components that are flexible for learning fair graph representations from arbitrary data: the first aims to construct fair neighborhoods for any arbitrary node in a graph and the second enables adaption of these fair neighborhoods to better capture certain application or data-dependent constraints, such as allowing neighborhoods to be more biased towards certain attributes or neighbors in the graph.Furthermore, while link prediction has been extensively studied, we are the first to investigate the graph representation learning task of fair link classification. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed neighborhood fairness framework for a variety of graph machine learning tasks including fair link prediction, link classification, and learning fair graph embeddings. Notably, our approach achieves not only better fairness but also increases the accuracy in the majority of cases across a wide variety of graphs, problem settings, and metrics.
Temporal networks model a variety of important phenomena involving timed interactions between entities. Existing methods for machine learning on temporal networks generally exhibit at least one of two limitations. First, time is assumed to be discretized, so if the time data is continuous, the user must determine the discretization and discard precise time information. Second, edge representations can only be calculated indirectly from the nodes, which may be suboptimal for tasks like edge classification. We present a simple method that avoids both shortcomings: construct the line graph of the network, which includes a node for each interaction, and weigh the edges of this graph based on the difference in time between interactions. From this derived graph, edge representations for the original network can be computed with efficient classical methods. The simplicity of this approach facilitates explicit theoretical analysis: we can constructively show the effectiveness of our method's representations for a natural synthetic model of temporal networks. Empirical results on real-world networks demonstrate our method's efficacy and efficiency on both edge classification and temporal link prediction.
Session-based recommender systems capture the short-term interest of a user within a session. Session contexts (i.e., a user's high-level interests or intents within a session) are not explicitly given in most datasets, and implicitly inferring session context as an aggregation of item-level attributes is crude. In this paper, we propose ISCON, which implicitly contextualizes sessions. ISCON first generates implicit contexts for sessions by creating a session-item graph, learning graph embeddings, and clustering to assign sessions to contexts. ISCON then trains a session context predictor and uses the predicted contexts' embeddings to enhance the next-item prediction accuracy. Experiments on four datasets show that ISCON has superior next-item prediction accuracy than state-of-the-art models. A case study of ISCON on the Reddit dataset confirms that assigned session contexts are unique and meaningful.
Bundle recommender systems recommend sets of items (e.g., pants, shirt, and shoes) to users, but they often suffer from two issues: significant interaction sparsity and a large output space. In this work, we extend multi-round conversational recommendation (MCR) to alleviate these issues. MCR, which uses a conversational paradigm to elicit user interests by asking user preferences on tags (e.g., categories or attributes) and handling user feedback across multiple rounds, is an emerging recommendation setting to acquire user feedback and narrow down the output space, but has not been explored in the context of bundle recommendation. In this work, we propose a novel recommendation task named Bundle MCR. We first propose a new framework to formulate Bundle MCR as Markov Decision Processes (MDPs) with multiple agents, for user modeling, consultation and feedback handling in bundle contexts. Under this framework, we propose a model architecture, called Bundle Bert (Bunt) to (1) recommend items, (2) post questions and (3) manage conversations based on bundle-aware conversation states. Moreover, to train Bunt effectively, we propose a two-stage training strategy. In an offline pre-training stage, Bunt is trained using multiple cloze tasks to mimic bundle interactions in conversations. Then in an online fine-tuning stage, Bunt agents are enhanced by user interactions. Our experiments on multiple offline datasets as well as the human evaluation show the value of extending MCR frameworks to bundle settings and the effectiveness of our Bunt design.
Given entities and their interactions in the web data, which may have occurred at different time, how can we find communities of entities and track their evolution? In this paper, we approach this important task from graph clustering perspective. Recently, state-of-the-art clustering performance in various domains has been achieved by deep clustering methods. Especially, deep graph clustering (DGC) methods have successfully extended deep clustering to graph-structured data by learning node representations and cluster assignments in a joint optimization framework. Despite some differences in modeling choices (e.g., encoder architectures), existing DGC methods are mainly based on autoencoders and use the same clustering objective with relatively minor adaptations. Also, while many real-world graphs are dynamic, previous DGC methods considered only static graphs. In this work, we develop CGC, a novel end-to-end framework for graph clustering, which fundamentally differs from existing methods. CGC learns node embeddings and cluster assignments in a contrastive graph learning framework, where positive and negative samples are carefully selected in a multi-level scheme such that they reflect hierarchical community structures and network homophily. Also, we extend CGC for time-evolving data, where temporal graph clustering is performed in an incremental learning fashion, with the ability to detect change points. Extensive evaluation on real-world graphs demonstrates that the proposed CGC consistently outperforms existing methods.