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Towards Equity and Algorithmic Fairness in Student Grade Prediction

May 14, 2021
Weijie Jiang, Zachary A. Pardos

Equity of educational outcome and fairness of AI with respect to race have been topics of increasing importance in education. In this work, we address both with empirical evaluations of grade prediction in higher education, an important task to improve curriculum design, plan interventions for academic support, and offer course guidance to students. With fairness as the aim, we trial several strategies for both label and instance balancing to attempt to minimize differences in algorithm performance with respect to race. We find that an adversarial learning approach, combined with grade label balancing, achieved by far the fairest results. With equity of educational outcome as the aim, we trial strategies for boosting predictive performance on historically underserved groups and find success in sampling those groups in inverse proportion to their historic outcomes. With AI-infused technology supports increasingly prevalent on campuses, our methodologies fill a need for frameworks to consider performance trade-offs with respect to sensitive student attributes and allow institutions to instrument their AI resources in ways that are attentive to equity and fairness.

* Accepted to the 2021 AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society (AIES '21) 

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A Scalable Algorithm for Anomaly Detection via Learning-Based Controlled Sensing

May 12, 2021
Geethu Joseph, M. Cenk Gursoy, Pramod K. Varshney

We address the problem of sequentially selecting and observing processes from a given set to find the anomalies among them. The decision-maker observes one process at a time and obtains a noisy binary indicator of whether or not the corresponding process is anomalous. In this setting, we develop an anomaly detection algorithm that chooses the process to be observed at a given time instant, decides when to stop taking observations, and makes a decision regarding the anomalous processes. The objective of the detection algorithm is to arrive at a decision with an accuracy exceeding a desired value while minimizing the delay in decision making. Our algorithm relies on a Markov decision process defined using the marginal probability of each process being normal or anomalous, conditioned on the observations. We implement the detection algorithm using the deep actor-critic reinforcement learning framework. Unlike prior work on this topic that has exponential complexity in the number of processes, our algorithm has computational and memory requirements that are both polynomial in the number of processes. We demonstrate the efficacy of our algorithm using numerical experiments by comparing it with the state-of-the-art methods.

* ICC 2021 
* 6 pages, 8 figures 

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Swarm Differential Privacy for Purpose Driven Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom Architecture

May 09, 2021
Yingbo Li, Yucong Duan, Zakaria Maama, Haoyang Che, Anamaria-Beatrice Spulber, Stelios Fuentes

Privacy protection has recently attracted the attention of both academics and industries. Society protects individual data privacy through complex legal frameworks. This has become a topic of interest with the increasing applications of data science and artificial intelligence that have created a higher demand to the ubiquitous application of the data. The privacy protection of the broad Data-InformationKnowledge-Wisdom (DIKW) landscape, the next generation of information organization, has not been in the limelight. Next, we will explore DIKW architecture through the applications of popular swarm intelligence and differential privacy. As differential privacy proved to be an effective data privacy approach, we will look at it from a DIKW domain perspective. Swarm Intelligence could effectively optimize and reduce the number of items in DIKW used in differential privacy, this way accelerating both the effectiveness and the efficiency of differential privacy for crossing multiple modals of conceptual DIKW. The proposed approach is proved through the application of personalized data that is based on the open-sourse IRIS dataset. This experiment demonstrates the efficiency of Swarm Intelligence in reducing computing complexity.


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UPB at SemEval-2021 Task 8: Extracting Semantic Information on Measurements as Multi-Turn Question Answering

Apr 09, 2021
Andrei-Marius Avram, George-Eduard Zaharia, Dumitru-Clementin Cercel, Mihai Dascalu

Extracting semantic information on measurements and counts is an important topic in terms of analyzing scientific discourses. The 8th task of SemEval-2021: Counts and Measurements (MeasEval) aimed to boost research in this direction by providing a new dataset on which participants train their models to extract meaningful information on measurements from scientific texts. The competition is composed of five subtasks that build on top of each other: (1) quantity span identification, (2) unit extraction from the identified quantities and their value modifier classification, (3) span identification for measured entities and measured properties, (4) qualifier span identification, and (5) relation extraction between the identified quantities, measured entities, measured properties, and qualifiers. We approached these challenges by first identifying the quantities, extracting their units of measurement, classifying them with corresponding modifiers, and afterwards using them to jointly solve the last three subtasks in a multi-turn question answering manner. Our best performing model obtained an overlapping F1-score of 36.91% on the test set.

* 5 pages, 3 figures, SemEval-2021 Workshop, ACL-IJCNLP 2021 

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Semantic Annotation for Tabular Data

Dec 15, 2020
Udayan Khurana, Sainyam Galhotra

Detecting semantic concept of columns in tabular data is of particular interest to many applications ranging from data integration, cleaning, search to feature engineering and model building in machine learning. Recently, several works have proposed supervised learning-based or heuristic pattern-based approaches to semantic type annotation. Both have shortcomings that prevent them from generalizing over a large number of concepts or examples. Many neural network based methods also present scalability issues. Additionally, none of the known methods works well for numerical data. We propose $C^2$, a column to concept mapper that is based on a maximum likelihood estimation approach through ensembles. It is able to effectively utilize vast amounts of, albeit somewhat noisy, openly available table corpora in addition to two popular knowledge graphs to perform effective and efficient concept prediction for structured data. We demonstrate the effectiveness of $C^2$ over available techniques on 9 datasets, the most comprehensive comparison on this topic so far.


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Answering Ambiguous Questions through Generative Evidence Fusion and Round-Trip Prediction

Nov 26, 2020
Yifan Gao, Henghui Zhu, Patrick Ng, Cicero Nogueira dos Santos, Zhiguo Wang, Feng Nan, Dejiao Zhang, Ramesh Nallapati, Andrew O. Arnold, Bing Xiang

In open-domain question answering, questions are highly likely to be ambiguous because users may not know the scope of relevant topics when formulating them. Therefore, a system needs to find every possible interpretation of the question, and propose a set of disambiguated question-answer pairs. In this paper, we present a model that aggregates and combines evidence from multiple passages to generate question-answer pairs. Particularly, our model reads a large number of passages to find as many interpretations as possible. In addition, we propose a novel round-trip prediction approach to generate additional interpretations that our model fails to find in the first pass, and then verify and filter out the incorrect question-answer pairs to arrive at the final disambiguated output. On the recently introduced AmbigQA open-domain question answering dataset, our model, named Refuel, achieves a new state-of-the-art, outperforming the previous best model by a large margin. We also conduct comprehensive analyses to validate the effectiveness of our proposed round-trip prediction.


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The RELX Dataset and Matching the Multilingual Blanks for Cross-Lingual Relation Classification

Oct 19, 2020
Abdullatif Köksal, Arzucan Özgür

Relation classification is one of the key topics in information extraction, which can be used to construct knowledge bases or to provide useful information for question answering. Current approaches for relation classification are mainly focused on the English language and require lots of training data with human annotations. Creating and annotating a large amount of training data for low-resource languages is impractical and expensive. To overcome this issue, we propose two cross-lingual relation classification models: a baseline model based on Multilingual BERT and a new multilingual pretraining setup, which significantly improves the baseline with distant supervision. For evaluation, we introduce a new public benchmark dataset for cross-lingual relation classification in English, French, German, Spanish, and Turkish, called RELX. We also provide the RELX-Distant dataset, which includes hundreds of thousands of sentences with relations from Wikipedia and Wikidata collected by distant supervision for these languages. Our code and data are available at: https://github.com/boun-tabi/RELX

* Findings of EMNLP 2020 

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An Improved Approach of Intention Discovery with Machine Learning for POMDP-based Dialogue Management

Sep 20, 2020
Ruturaj Raval

An Embodied Conversational Agent (ECA) is an intelligent agent that works as the front end of software applications to interact with users through verbal/nonverbal expressions and to provide online assistance without the limits of time, location, and language. To help to improve the experience of human-computer interaction, there is an increasing need to empower ECA with not only the realistic look of its human counterparts but also a higher level of intelligence. This thesis first highlights the main topics related to the construction of ECA, including different approaches of dialogue management, and then discusses existing techniques of trend analysis for its application in user classification. As a further refinement and enhancement to prior work on ECA, this thesis research proposes a cohesive framework to integrate emotion-based facial animation with improved intention discovery. In addition, a machine learning technique is introduced to support sentiment analysis for the adjustment of policy design in POMDP-based dialogue management. The proposed research work is going to improve the accuracy of intention discovery while reducing the length of dialogues.

* In addition to my thesis: https://scholar.uwindsor.ca/etd/7731/ 

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Factorized Deep Generative Models for Trajectory Generation with Spatiotemporal-Validity Constraints

Sep 20, 2020
Liming Zhang, Liang Zhao, Dieter Pfoser

Trajectory data generation is an important domain that characterizes the generative process of mobility data. Traditional methods heavily rely on predefined heuristics and distributions and are weak in learning unknown mechanisms. Inspired by the success of deep generative neural networks for images and texts, a fast-developing research topic is deep generative models for trajectory data which can learn expressively explanatory models for sophisticated latent patterns. This is a nascent yet promising domain for many applications. We first propose novel deep generative models factorizing time-variant and time-invariant latent variables that characterize global and local semantics, respectively. We then develop new inference strategies based on variational inference and constrained optimization to encapsulate the spatiotemporal validity. New deep neural network architectures have been developed to implement the inference and generation models with newly-generalized latent variable priors. The proposed methods achieved significant improvements in quantitative and qualitative evaluations in extensive experiments.


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When Image Decomposition Meets Deep Learning: A Novel Infrared and Visible Image Fusion Method

Sep 02, 2020
Zixiang Zhao, Shuang Xu, Rui Feng, Chunxia Zhang, Junmin Liu, Jiangshe Zhang

Infrared and visible image fusion, as a hot topic in image processing and image enhancement, aims to produce fused images retaining the detail texture information in visible images and the thermal radiation information in infrared images. In this paper, we propose a novel two-stream auto-encoder (AE) based fusion network. The core idea is that the encoder decomposes an image into base and detail feature maps with low- and high-frequency information, respectively, and that the decoder is responsible for the original image reconstruction. To this end, a well-designed loss function is established to make the base/detail feature maps similar/dissimilar. In the test phase, base and detail feature maps are respectively merged via a fusion module, and the fused image is recovered by the decoder. Qualitative and quantitative results demonstrate that our method can generate fusion images containing highlighted targets and abundant detail texture information with strong reproducibility and meanwhile superior than the state-of-the-art (SOTA) approaches.

* arXiv admin note: substantial text overlap with arXiv:2003.09210 

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