SimFair: A Unified Framework for Fairness-Aware Multi-Label Classification


  • Tianci Liu Purdue University
  • Haoyu Wang Purdue University
  • Yaqing Wang Purdue University
  • Xiaoqian Wang Purdue University
  • Lu Su Purdue University
  • Jing Gao Purdue University





Recent years have witnessed increasing concerns towards unfair decisions made by machine learning algorithms. To improve fairness in model decisions, various fairness notions have been proposed and many fairness-aware methods are developed. However, most of existing definitions and methods focus only on single-label classification. Fairness for multi-label classification, where each instance is associated with more than one labels, is still yet to establish. To fill this gap, we study fairness-aware multi-label classification in this paper. We start by extending Demographic Parity (DP) and Equalized Opportunity (EOp), two popular fairness notions, to multi-label classification scenarios. Through a systematic study, we show that on multi-label data, because of unevenly distributed labels, EOp usually fails to construct a reliable estimate on labels with few instances. We then propose a new framework named Similarity s-induced Fairness (sγ -SimFair). This new framework utilizes data that have similar labels when estimating fairness on a particular label group for better stability, and can unify DP and EOp. Theoretical analysis and experimental results on real-world datasets together demonstrate the advantage of sγ -SimFair over existing methods on multi-label classification tasks.




How to Cite

Liu, T., Wang, H., Wang, Y., Wang, X., Su, L., & Gao, J. (2023). SimFair: A Unified Framework for Fairness-Aware Multi-Label Classification. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 37(12), 14338-14346.



AAAI Special Track on AI for Social Impact